England: England Hockey League 2023/24 Premier Division Weekend 9 Review

The Vitality Women’s Premier Division top four all won at the weekend while there will be an exciting final day fight to secure a Top 6 place.

Alia Jacques opened the scoring for Bowdon to end Surbiton’s three successive clean sheets before the league leaders ran through the gears to win 7-1.

Jacques scored in the second minute before Leah Wilkinson and Izzy Petter gave Surbiton the lead before the 10th minute. Two goals from Sophie Hamilton plus strikes from Martha Taylor, Giselle Ansley and Amy Costello handed sixth-placed Bowdon what is thought to be their biggest home defeat in the top flight.

Wimbledon are in seventh with one game left after going down 2-0 at home to in-form Reading, who notched their first goals against the Londoners.

Second-half goals from Mia Moore and Caroline Spence, with her third in three games, gave Reading the points.

Hampstead & Westminster have now won all their five matches away to Beeston, the latest coming after a slender 1-0 win in Nottingham.

Victory was secured with a fifth-minute goal from Madi Ratcliffe and their third clean sheet in a row.

Clifton Robinsons’ Top 6 hopes hang precariously heading into the final weekend before the winter break following a hard-fought 3-3 draw with University of Nottingham.

After Rebecca Daniel had netted from a 19th-minute PC for Clifton, UoN levelled in the second-half through Holly Nixon and then scored twice in 12 minutes (Jordan Homann and Madeleine Stewart). But Phoebe Richards pulled a goal back a minute later before Evie Grindal equalised with seven minutes left to share the points.

Both Sara Davies and Maddie Long were given yellow cards with three minutes left.

Sophie Bray netted her second hat-trick of the season to leave East Grinstead favourites to qualify for the Top 6 with a healthy goal difference on the chasing pack.

Bray was on song during a 5-1 win over Isca & University of Exeter on Saturday as Grace Balsdon and Anna Faulstich also netted. Freya Bellamy scored for Isca late on.

University of Birmingham, in ninth, can still make the Top 6 following a 2-1 victory at home to Loughborough Students.

The game saw four yellow cards issued in a forgettable 15-minute spell in the second-half (three to Birmingham). 

The hosts had taken a two-goal cushion inside 10 minutes through Hannah Atkinson and Coca Hall before Lily Beer netted in the 20th minute.

*Stats kindly provided by Colin Pike

The Top 6 in the Men’s Premier Division has now been decided after Southgate turned on the style to beat East Grinstead 9-1 on Saturday night.

Southgate, with their fourth win in five, enjoyed their biggest home win in the top flight since 2012 as eight different players scored, led by Matt Ramshaw’s double and a fourth penalty stroke of the season from Kwan Browne.

With a game in hand, East Grinstead had a chance to make the Top 6 with victory while their double header weekend did finish on a high following a 3-2 win at home to Reading.

A rare Premier Division red card was given to Dan Faulkner late on as East Grinstead rallied in a thriller from 2-0 down. Tom Minall and George Fletcher had given Reading the lead inside the eighth minute before Tom Tyers pulled one back three minutes later.

Simon Faulkner then scored twice in eight second-half minutes as EG held on with 10 players for the last six minutes.

At the top, Old Georgians beat Oxted 4-2 as the hosts succumbed to a second league defeat in a row, which included goals from Sam Ward and Alan Forsyth.

Old Georgians are now on an eight-game winning streak since a 3-2 home defeat to Surbiton in September.

Surbiton are on a seven-game winning run of their own following a 7-2 win over University of Nottingham. Struan Walker bagged a hat-trick and has now scored in his last four matches (17 for the season). 

Meanwhile, Wimbledon notched their fourth successive league win following a 3-1 win over Reading, the first of two weekend defeats. Rory Patterson, Jack Waller and Ben Francis all got in on the act for the south west Londoners.

Reading are still looking for their first win at Wimbledon for eight years.

The division’s other in-form team, Holcombe, accrued their sixth win in seven after a convincing 6-0 home success over Cardiff & Met. Alex Pendle and Phil Roper both netted braces.

Beeston’s four-year losing streak at home to Hampstead & Westminster continued after a 4-2 defeat.

The Londoners scored four for the second match in a row. Matt Guise-Browne, returning from South Africa’s Olympic qualification success last weekend, got the ball rolling with a penalty corner double inside the opening 20 minutes.

by England Hockeyl

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