England: England Hockey League 2023/24: Weekend 6 Review

Surbiton 2’s lead at the top of Women’s Division One South is extended to five points after a 2-0 win at Sevenoaks, Isabelle Yonge and Hannah Denison scoring their goals. Both their nearest rivals drew. Barnes were held 1-1 at Canterbury after taking the lead through Abby Gooderham which  Sophie Pinney pegged back. Holcombe saw lowly Team Bath Buccaneers take a point home from Kent in see-saw 4-4 draw. It was a good day for other teams at the foot of the table. Southgate picked up their first points of the season in a 3-1 win at Wimbledon 2s and Harleston Magpies took a point but were denied all three when Laura Bailey converted a stroke with five minutes to go at Slough to tie things up at 1-1.

Division One North leaders Buckingham were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom the table Swansea who led thanks to 43rd minute goal from Harriet Barker. Lauren Thomas levelled things up with nine minutes to go. Gloucester City are now just a point off top spot after a 4-1 win at Stourport, Jess Roe scoring two of their goals. Sutton Coldfield and Durham University are two points further back after wins on Saturday. A brace from Beth Merriman helped Sutton to a 3-0 win at Wakefield whilst Scarlett Spavin scored the only goal of the game in the students 1-0 defeat of Ben Rhydding. It was a similar scoreline at Olton where a Sarah Cockayne corner proved decisive for Leicester.  

In Conference East Guildford maintained their 100% start to the season with a 4-2 win over bottom of the table Horsham.  Charlotte Nicholls gave Horsham the lead but Guildford powered back with Sophie Byrne, Robyn Bentley, Charlotte Barr, Megan Phillips all on target before a consolation from Dina Finn. London Wayfarers are five points behind Guildford having defeated Teddington 3-1 including two goals from Nicki Mollison. Third placed Spencer lost ground after being held to a 0-0 draw by Old Loughtonians. Hampstead 2s and Old Georgians also drew, 1-1. A 3-0 win for East London against Ipswich means the Suffolk side are now ninth two points behind Old Loughts.

It was a good weekend for Conference Midlands leaders Repton with two wins against two of their closest rivals. Rose Bowman scored from a 64th minute corner to secure a 3-2 win at Doncaster on Saturday and scored twice in their 4-0 defeat of St Albans on Sunday. Cambridge City are three points behind Repton and two first half goals from Holly Dean paved the way for a 4-1 defeat of bottom of the table Oxford University. Catryn Langley had scored twice in St Albans 4-1 defeat of Belper on Saturday. Elsewhere honours were shared 1-1 in the 2s battle between Beeston and Birmingham University and Bedford beat Cannock 1-0.

Pendle Forest are now four points clear at the top of Conference North thanks to a 3-0 win at Timperley where Lisa Crewe-Smith (2) and Steph Bedford were on target. Newcastle University remain unbeaten in second, winning 3-1 at now bottom of the table Harrogate. Brooklands Poynton who were tenth going into Saturday’s games picked up their first win of the campaign, 2-1 at Bowdon 2s to move off last place. Leeds enjoyed a good 5-0 win against third placed Fylde, with Helen Youmans scoring twice. Draw specialists Didsbury Northern, who had shared the points in four out of their five games to date, notched up a first win, 3-1 against Durham University 2s.  

Trojans maintained the lead in Conference West after beating Reading 2s 4-1, Kim Collins, Polly Egerton and Amy Sheehan (2) scoring their goals. Second placed Exeter edged out Clifton Robinsons 2s 4-3. Clifton had pulled level from 3-1 down with 10 minutes to go but Exeter’s Rebecca Fagg 67th goal took the points back to Devon.  Witney and Bristol Firebrands both lost ground at the top drawing 1-1. Cheltenham defeated Oxford Hawks 2-0. At the foot of the table Basingstoke moved off bottom place, beating Fareham 3-1, their first points of the season and meaning the Hampshire side replace them in tenth.     

Bowdon lead Division One North with the only 100% record in the Mens League. Their latest win was a hard fought one at Durham University who took an early lead through Freddie Britt but goals from William Lord, Daniel Campbell gave Bowdon the points. They lead Cheshire rivals Brooklands MU by two points after they also won 2-1 on the road, at Loughborough Students. Third placed Harborne’s only losses were against the top two and a 4-3 defeat of Deeside Ramblers was their fourth win on the trot and was sealed by a Peter Jackson corner with just two minutes to go.  A three goal burst in the first twelve minutes was decisive for Olton, ending up 3-2 victors over Birmingham University . Bottom of the table Cambridge City earned their first point in a 3-3 draw at second bottom Leeds.

It’s tight at the top of Division One South where 1st played 2nd, going into the weekend, Canterbury hosting Teddington and the game ended level at 2-2. Josh Prebble and Rhys Harmer gave the home side a 2-0 lead that was pegged back by two Matt Daly corners. Whilst Canterbury stay top, Richmond, with their fourth consecutive win, go second. Jordan Hussell and Scott Wall both scoring twice in a 5-3 win at Team Bath Buccaneers. Alex Salmon scored the only goal of the game in Sevenoaks win at Exeter University. Havant moved out of the bottom two beating tenth placed Brighton & Hove 3-1 with Viacheslav Paziuk scoring twice. Brighton also lost in a rearranged game on Sunday, 5-0 at Old Loughtonians who had been beaten 3-1 by Old Cranleighan the day before.

The top two, Spencer and Indian Gymkhana, met in Conference East and there was nothing to separate the teams, the game ending 2-2, George Carson scoring twice for the home team. Their nearest rivals were unable to make up ground with Guildford losing 1-0 at Surbiton 2s and London Wayfarers going down 2-1 at home to Bromley & Beckenham. Wimbledon 2s took their first points of the season in a 2-0 defeat of Ipswich but remain at the foot of the table, a point behind Old Georgians 2s who drew 1-1 with their Hampstead & Westminster counterparts.

The top two also met in Conference Midlands and a 1-1 draw meant Stourport ended Nottingham University 2s 100% start to the season. Leo Delves cancelling out Joshua Biddlecombe’s opener for the students. Third placed Norwich City were unable to capitalise drawing 3-3 with Banbury. Barford Tigers defeated Bedford 8-1 with Isaac Farmilo scoring four. Fabio Stubbs netted a 68th minute winner for Birmingham University 2s at Harleston Magpies where earlier  Myles King had scored twice late on to make it  2-2. Bottom of the table City of Peterborough was also undone deep into the game. St Albans beat them 3-2 with George Scott and Christopher Fletcher scoring in the last three minutes.

There was no change at the top of Conference North with the top three teams all recording victories. Leaders Lindum won 5-0 at Oxton with goals from Ben Read (2), Harry Antill, Sam France and James Niven. They remain a point clear of Timperley who overcame Ben Rhydding 4-0 with Connor Miller grabbing a first half hat-trick. Doncaster trail Timperley on goal difference but boosted that with a 10-1 win at Belper, Matt Gibson scoring four of their goals. Wakefield defeated Sheffield 4-1 in the Yorkshire derby and the 2nd XI battle between Beeston and Brooklands MU went the way of Beeston, 3-2.

Bristol University and Oxford Hawks remain first and second, level on points,  in Conference West. Will Owens scored the only goal of the game in the Students defeat of Cheltenham. Hawks beat Isca 3-1.  A hat-trick for Ollie Palmer helped Ashmoor to a 4-2 defeat of Fareham and stay third. Exeter University 2s beat Clifton Robinsons 3-2  with Ben Rees netting the winner with four minutes to go. The battle of the bottom two saw a decisive victory for Chichester who beat Plymouth Marjon 8-3. The game was 4-3 within the first quarter before Chichester took control to leave Plymouth four points adrift at the bottom of the table.          

by England Hockeyl

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