England: Vitality Women’s Hockey League Week 4 2022 Review

Matchday four of the Vitality Women’s Hockey League didn’t disappoint with some high-scoring games and rare scorelines.  Jade Bloomfield of Hockey World News reviews the day’s action in the Premier Division, with an overview of the key points in Division 1 North / South and the Conferences.

image - England: Vitality Women's Hockey League Week 4 2022 Review - For full results and tables from across the country, see the England Hockey League Women's section.

Buckingham fell short of producing the upset they were hoping for when Surbiton visited Stowe School as they fell to the league leaders. Surbiton were in no mood to let their stranglehold on the Premier Division slip as they maintained their three-point advantage at the top, putting six goals past the Buckingham defence.

Jessica Dyson opened the scoring in the 21st minute for the visitors on her senior debut for the club as she celebrated her 18th birthday. Izzy Petter was on hand just two minutes later to stretch the lead before a rare Alice Wills goal sent the league leaders into the halftime break with a comfortable lead. Jenny O’Grady extended the lead further in the 45th minute before Madeleine Newin did what no other player has done in nearly 300 minutes of hockey and hit the back of Sabbie Heesh’s net to give Buckingham a moment to celebrate. Keeping up her record of scoring in every game, Sophie Hamilton was on hand to restore Surbiton’s four-goal lead before Steph Elliott fired home from a penalty corner with three minutes remaining to give Surbiton a comfortable 6-1 victory.

Clifton Robinsons capitalised on Wimbledon dropping points, at the University of Birmingham, by stopping Beeston‘s winning streak at Coombe Dingle. With Phoebe Richards (17), Katrin Gierak (26-PC) and  Abi Porter (47) all on the scoresheet for the hosts, the win sees them move into second place in the table.

Falling to pick up all three points away at the University of Birmingham, Wimbledon drop a place in the standings to third. Delyth Thomas (25) and Millie Giglio (52) are on hand for the hosts to ensure the points were shared in a 2-2 draw.

The same scoreline was seen in West Sussex as East Grinstead played hosts to Hampstead & Westminster. The visitors, taking an early 2nd-minute lead through Lauren Turner, would be forgiven for thinking it was their day, especially with Lucy Hyams extending the lead in the 49th minute. However, East Grinstead refused to roll over; Sophie Bray did what she has done so many times in her career, pulling the hosts back into the game in the 53rd minute. Bray found the net once again, with time running out, in the 64th minute giving East Grinstead a vital point to stay in touching distance of the chasing pack.

Reading climbed off the bottom of the table with their first point of the season. A 0-0 draw at home against Holcombe, the first in the Premier Division since October 2020, was enough to see them overtake Buckingham as they got their season up and running.

With both sides searching for their first win of the season, the University of Nottingham entertained the Loughborough Students at the Nottingham Hockey centre. An eight-goal thriller ended in a 4-4 draw, with both sides still searching for that elusive victory in the Premier Division.

Elsewhere in the Vitality Women’s Hockey League, Bowdon ended Stourport’s 100% record with a 3-1 home win, a win that also saw the Manchester-based club leapfrog their visitors at the top of the table in Division 1 North.  

In Division 1 South, Barnes momentarily topped the table after putting Slough to the sword with a 3-0 victory away from home before Isca & University of Exeter moved above them after a dominant performance and a 6-1 win over Cambridge City.

In the Conferences, Southgate and Guildford remain the only sides in the Vitality Women’s Hockey League with a 100% record. Both sides level on points at the head of the table after 3-1 and 1-4 wins, respectively.

At the start of the day in the Conference Midlands, Belper were second from bottom and playing hosts to fifth-placed Oxford University. A massive 6-2 victory for the home side saw them climb to fourth in the table, where just three points separate them from ninth-placed Cannock.

Timperley climbed to the top of the Conference North with a 2-0 victory over hosts Harrogate, while Fylde could only manage a draw against Didsbury Northern. The point, however, was enough to see the previous leaders Harrogate drop to third.

Penarth remain at the top of Conference West after a crushing 5-1 win over Southampton-based Trojans

For full results and tables from across the country, see the England Hockey League Women’s section.

Look out for the video highlights coming soon.

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