Our next edition will be
the afternoon of
Monday 7 December
Men’s Premier Division
Men’s Conferences Highlights
Investec Women’s Conference East
England Hockey League
Investec Women’s North and West Conferences
LATEST PREMIER DIVISION REGISTRATIONS AND MOVES
LEAGUES’ TOP SCORERS
Only one of our three top scorers added to their tally over the weekend, and that was Cambridge City’s Euan Gilmour. That moves him up to a total of 15 goals, the same as Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth. That places us in a bit of a quandary. However, as two of Euan’s goals have come from penalty strokes, as opposed to one by Alan, we are going to leave them in third and second place respectively
1. Charlie Ellison (Con. East, Richmond) 18 penalty corners, 1 penalty stroke.
2. Alan Forsyth (Premier Division, Surbiton) 13 field goals, 1 Penalty Corner, 1 Penalty stroke.
3. Euan Gilmour (Con. East, Cambridge City) 13 field goals, 2 penalty strokes.
After a goalless weekend last week, two of our leading scorers were on target on Saturday. As you can read elsewhere in this edition, Amy Sheehan added two to her total against Ipswich. She stays top. Sophie Robinson moves up one place to second, above Vicky Woolford. Both have scored 13 but, as is the common convention, we weight field goals higher if there is an equality of goals. Among the contenders challenging for a top three spot is Trojans’ Sally Gibson, who has now scored 11. The Conference West player shoots up the chart after scoring four against Oxford Hawks.
1. Amy Sheehan (Con. East, Slough) 14 field goals, 1 penalty stroke.
2. Sophie Robinson (Con. North, Beeston) 11 field goals, 2 penalty strokes.
3. Vicky Woolford (Con. West, Sutton Coldfield) 5 field goals, 8 penalty corners.
NB: Where there is an equality of goals we use the standard convention of giving less value to penalty corners and strokes than field goals.
THE NAUGHTY BOYS’ (AND GIRLS) BRIGADE
Rather like Olympic gold medals, a red card on our table scores more than any yellow card, and so Oxted remain in top place with one red and 12 yellows. Both Canterbury and Conference East Teddington were well behaved over the weekend, but their 14 yellows each keeps them in joint second. A quick mention of the clubs at the bottom of our table of shame. They are Conference East Richmond and Conference West Cheltenham. They are on two each. Well done to you lads!
Despite an angelic weekend University of Durham remain top of the naughty girls brigade with eight yellows. Whitley Bay & Tynemouth, who until recently topped the hall of shame, move back into contention with seven yellows, whilst Brooklands remain on six cards. We’ve mentioned this before, but all three are Conference North sides, where the total is 41, 11 ahead of the nearest other Conference.
Investec Women’s Premier Division
FULL RESULTS AND TABLES CAN BE FOUND BY FOLLOWING THE LINKS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS PAGE.
IMAGES FROM THE MATCH BETWEEN SLOUGH AND IPSWICH CAN BE FOUND ON OUR PICTURES PAGES.
With this edition we have reached the last England Hockey League matches before the Christmas/New Year break. But there is still plenty of hockey.
Monday 7 December – Hockey Talk published as usual, with the focus on the Regional Leagues.
Monday 14 December – Hockey Talk published as usual, with reports from the Indoor Leagues. NB: Upload time may be later than usual.
Monday 21 December – No Hockey Talk but there will probably be images from a regional indoor tournament on our Pictures pages.
Monday 28 December – No Hockey Talk
Monday 4 January – No Hockey Talk
Monday 11 January – Hockey Talk published as usual, with reports from the Indoor Leagues. NB: Upload time may be later than usual.
Monday 18 January – Hockey Talk published as usual, with reports from the Indoor Leagues.
Monday 25 January – Hockey Talk published as usual, with reports from the Indoor Leagues.
Monday 1st February will see us return to our usual format until the end of the season. There are two big occasions we will be reporting on in that edition – the annual Hockey Writers’ Club Awards and the Indoor Finals at Wembley.
IMPROVING READING PUSH CLIFTON OUT OF CHAMPIONSHIP RACE
The top three sides in the Investec Women’s Premiership all won over the weekend, leaving a widening gap between them and the chasing clubs. Although several points behind them, there is battle for the fourth place, and with it a place in the Championship play-offs.
Before the weekend the fourth place had been held by Clifton, who were two points ahead of Holcombe and three points ahead of East Grinstead.
Clifton’s opponent on Saturday was Reading who, after a truly dire start to their season, is showing the green shoots of improvement. Without a win in their first seven outings, Reading is unbeaten since the two sides last met on 24 October. On that occasion it was Clifton who emerged the 1-2 winners.
Hannah Leigh scored two first half goals for Reading, with Joanna Carter pulling one back for Clifton in the second. A goal in the last three minutes for Elizabeth Hunt saw Reading finish the match 1-3 winners.
Reading remain in seventh place, but the gap between them and the side in sixth is reduced to four points. Clifton dip to fifth. With the mid-season break now with us, their next matches are on 6 February, when Reading play bottom-placed Buckingham. Clifton will play East Grinstead.
Grinners Move Up
The principal beneficiary from Clifton’s defeat on Sunday was East Grinstead, who move up two places into fourth.
After a sparkling start to their season, EG has gone through a rough patch which saw them without a win in five matches, and with it a slide from second to sixth. You could say that their 2-1 win at home to Bowdon Hightown was like picking the low hanging fruit, but all points count no matter who the opponent is.
EG went into the second half with a 0-1 deficit after Sally Walton had scored for Hightown. ‘Grinstead’s Barbadian international, Jo-Jo Davis, equalised early in the second half, with a Pippa Chapman penalty corner conversion settling the match 2-1 in EG’s favour.
Bowdon Hightown remain in ninth place, on the same points as eighth placed Leicester, the sides separated on goal difference.
Bowdon will have a difficult match when the season re-starts on 6 February. They will be playing Canterbury.
Holcombe Slide Continues
East Grinstead’s rise up the table was helped by Holcombe, who two weeks ago were in fourth, but have dropped a place each week since. Saturday saw them visit second place Surbiton.
Emily Atkinson gave Surbiton a 1-0 lead going into the second half, with Emmie Le Marchand, Abi Robinson and Hannah Coulson adding to the score to give them a 4-0 win.
Surbiton remain very much in contention for the top spot, waiting for a slip-up by Birmingham University to erode their two point lead. Surbiton has the best goal difference in the Premiership (+29 as opposed to the University’s +20), so they are very much in with a chance.
Holcombe are now in sixth place on fifteen points, two points behind EG, so their season is far from over. Their next match is on 6 February against Leicester. Surbiton will be travelling to Birmingham to play the University. When the sides played two weeks ago it ended in a 1-1 draw.
Although five points behind the leaders, Canterbury are in a very comfortable third place. Canterbury has only lost one match this season, and that was against Surbiton.
On Saturday the Kent side played Leicester who, after an OK start to the season, have faded badly and are in eighth place.
Last time we saw Canterbury play, it was an early Grace Balsdon penalty corner conversion which had unsettled their opposition, and it was the same again on Saturday. Sarah Kerly scored Canterbury’s second to provide them with a 0-2 lead going into the second half, to which was added a second by Kerly and a goal from Dirkie Chamberlain.
Leicester are in a precarious position, as much dependant on Bowdon Hightown’s results as their own. Both are on seven pointsnwith only one goal splitting their goal difference. The resurgence of Reading, who were propping up the table for six weeks, makes both of them candidates for relegation via the play-offs.
Buckingham Still Without a Win
There are only two teams in the entire Investec Women’s League who have yet to win a match, and Buckingham is one of them. (The other is Ipswich). It does look like the end of the road for them, with some difficult fixtures coming up in the new year.
Buckingham may take a scintilla of hope from their performance on Saturday when they played table toppers University of Birmingham. One might have anticipated a cricket score, but the University’s Rebecca Condie scored the only goal of the match, which finished 1-0 to the University.
WAKEFIELD LOSE TO BEESTON – WEST ENJOYS GOAL BONANZA
North leader’s Wakefield losing a match is a rare thing – it’s only happened once before this season – but it happened again on Saturday. Their opponents, Beeston, are enjoying a relatively good season, although they have been unable to unstick themselves from fourth place despite gaining 11 points from their last five matches. Their Sophie Robinson, who is the second highest scorer across the entire Investec Women’s League, scored one of Beeston’s two goals in their 0-2 win against the leaders.
Perhaps the surprise result of the weekend was the 3-0 defeat of Durham University by lowly Liverpool Sefton. Sefton had been propping up the table until two weeks ago, but successive wins have raised them to eighth. For the University the move was in the other direction. They are now third.
Durham’s place is taken by Brooklands Poynton after their 0-1 win at Belper. They are now five points behind Wakefield, and one point ahead of the University.
The highest scoring match of the weekend in the North was between Loughborough Students and Springfields. The Students’ 6-1 win included a hat-trick from Ellie Tait. Although the Students remain in sixth place, they are only three points behind second-placed Brooklands. Springfield return to the ninth place they vacated three weeks ago.
A couple of good wins could lift Whitley Bay & Tynemouth off the bottom, but none of them came at the weekend. They went down 1-3 to fifth placed Ben Rhydding.
The weekend saw a goal bonaza in the West with 26 goals being scored across the five matches.
Not surprisingly, the biggest margin of win was at Sutton Coldfield where the home side defeated visiting University of Bristol 6-1. Impressively, that’s six goals from six different scorers. Sutton has scored 48 goals this season, ten more than any other side in the Investec Women’s League.
Despite their impressive prowess in front of goal, Sutton Coldfield only has a tiny lead at the top of the table. In second place, one point behind them, is Stourport, who beat Bristol Firebrands 3-1 on Saturday. Things are not going well for Bristol based clubs in the Conference, with Firebrands in ninth place, and the University in tenth.
Sutton Coldfield are also threatened by third placed Swansea City, who are only two points behind. The City held the top place for three weeks earlier in the season before Sutton took over, and no doubt they still have their eye on that promotion play-off place. Saturday saw them beat Olton & West Warwicks 4-1.
We had almost forgotten that Trojans were still there. Their seventh place in the table evidences a fairly modest season. So their 6-2 win over Oxford Hawks came as a bit of a surprise. It includes four goals from Sally Gibson, which means that she is close to joining our top scorers table.
Among all the high scoring West matches, the 1-1 draw between Gloucester City and Isca University looks a bit out of place. In common with the other eight teams in this Conference, the weekend’s results mean that they remain static in the table.
GB MEN BEAT AUSTRALIA IN RAIPUR!
More in this edition
TRANSFORMED BROOKLANDS MU MAKE A BID FOR TOP FOUR
Here’s a hockey Trivia question for you. Which club has won the most points in the Premiership during the last four matches?
It’s actually a tie between two sides who have won 10 points each, and it should come as no surprise that one of those clubs is table-topping Holcombe. More suprising is the other team. It’s Brookland’s MU, who have usually struggled (and oft times failed) to stay in the Premier Division. Only four weeks ago they were in ninth place, and here we are with them two points short of a fourth position, and a place in the Championship play-offs that goes with it.
Brooklands MU’s third successive win came on Sunday when they entertained Hampstead & Westminster. The London side had gone into the second half with a one goal advantage thanks to an early penalty stroke conversion from Neil Hamilton and a goal from Matthew Botha. Brooklands’ scorer had been Peter Flannagan.
Brooklands man of the moment was Sasm Perrin, who equalised early in the second half, before scoring the winner from a penalty corner with five minutes left on the clock.
The 3-2 result keeps Brooklands in fifth place, but the gap between them and fourth placed Wimbledon has narrowed. H&W move down to seventh place, their second drop in successive weeks. The long winter break kicks in and when the season resumes on 6 February Brooklands may find the points more difficult to win when they visit Surbiton. H&W will face Canterbury the next day.
Canterbury Win Their First Point
Canterbury may have thought that the light at the end of the tunnel had been extinguished, but there was the tinniest glimmer of hope from their match against East Grinstead on Saturday.
EG, who themselves are not having the best of seasons, took a first half lead thanks to a Sam Driver goal. Craig Boyne equalised for Canterbury mid-way through the second half, but they lost the lead as a result of a 68th minute goal from Grinstead’s Dominic Bowdon.
It might have looked all over for Canterbury, but Boyne scored his second to finish the match 2-2, and give his side their first point of the season.
Canterbury remain at bottom, with ninth placed Cannock 10 points ahead of them. Canterbury had been the bottom of the table for most of last season but escaped relegation, but checking our records we see that they were only five points adrift at this stage last year. It does look the end of the road for the Kent side.
The result for EG means that they actually move up one place to sixth. However, there is a knot of sides in the fifth to ninth places, with only two points separating fifth from ninth.
EG will undoubtedly now be concentrating on their indoor season, which includes representing England in Europe, and will have to get their outdoor heads back on when they face their next Premiership opponents, who will be Cannock.
Rested Players Help Holcombe Win
The decision of the GB head coach to rest some of his most experienced players during the World League in Raipur seems to have been a definite plus for table-topping Holcombe. They played Cannock away on Saturday, and two regular GB players were among the scorers.
Although Cannock are in ninth place, we have seen them this season and they are no walkover. This was demonstrated by them twice equalising after Holcombe had taken the lead. Ashley Jackson’s 9th minute penalty corner conversion was the only goal in the first half, but it was another penalty corner which enabled Peter Jackson to equalise for Cannock in the second.
A goal, with 11 minutes of play remaining, scored by James Stedman, put Holcombe back in front. It was a lead that was only to last a few minutes before Arjan Drayton Chana equalised for Cannock. The winner came, just before the final whistle, from Barry Middleton.
Holcombe are still unbeaten this season and have been sharing the points at the top of the table with Surbiton, split only by a goal difference of +2. Holcombe’s next game will be against Wimbledon on 6 February. Cannock are in ninth place, but one win would be enough to push them up a few places in the table.
Meanwhile At Reading…
Among the GB players doing heroic things in Raipur, both Reading and Wimbledon are represented. But the ratio of the two clubs currently wearing GB shirts, 6:2 in favour of Reading, may have been a factor in their match on Sunday. Wimbledon were without Bailey, Brogdon, Hoare, Roper, Sloan and Weir, whilst only Simon Mantell and Dan Shingles were absent for Reading.
The game started with only one Reading goal – a penalty corner from Peter Kelly late in the first half – but there was a flurry of scoring in the second which saw the ball in the net a total of seven times.
A James Jewell equaliser for Wimbledon was met with an almost immediate response from Reading’s Peter Boon, who went on to score his second only a few minutes later. Tom Carson added two more to Reading’s total in quick succession, to give Reading a 5-1 lead.
Many teams would have given up, trailing by four goals and with ten minutes left, but Wimbledon still had plenty of fight in them. Johnny Kinder pulled the score back to 5-2, with Steven Ebbers scoring Wimbledon’s third a few minutes from time.
The final 5-3 result was a brave effort from the depleted Wimbledon side and, although they retain their fourth place in the table, the gap between them and third placed Reading is increased to five points, with Brooklands breathing down their necks in fifth.
Wimbledon will be involved in an interesting match when the season re-starts. They play Holcombe on 6 February, whilst Reading will be at Beeston.
Daly And Shipperley Keep Surbiton On Course
We’ve arrived at the mid-season break with two clubs way out in front and sharing the points. Neither can afford to lose points or wreck their goal difference.
Things did not seem to be going too well for Surbiton at home to Beeston, when the visitors’ Mark Gleghorne equalised after David Beckett had opened the scoring for Surbiton, and Beeston’s Stuart Pilgrim put the visitors briefly into the lead.
Surbi’s Matt Daly equalised just before the break, but it was a second penalty corner conversion from Mark Glegorne mid-way through the second half that put Beeston back into the lead. It was a lead that Beeston held briefly. Rupert Shipperly scored from open play after a few minutes, and a late corner converted by Daly gave Surbiton a 4-3 win.
Surbiton remain in second place on goal difference, whilst Beeston stay in eighth, separated from ninth placed Cannock by a much better goal difference.
That’s the end of England Hockey League matches until the beginning of February, although there is still plenty of action in the regional leagues and, of course, indoors.
East Grinstead’s Jo-Jo Davis
Slough’s Amy Sheehan (in dark shirt) in
action against Ipswich’s Emily Wheaton
GB MEN OFF TO
At the time we went to press, Great Britain men had played the first two matches in the pool stages of the World League Finals in Raipur. GB currently lead Pool A, with their final pool match due to be played on Tuesday 1 December.
England’s first opponents were Canada, who they beat 3-1 with two goals from Simon Mantell and a goal from Alistair Brogdon.
Possibly the surprise result of the tournament so far was GB’s defeat of Australia in their second pool match. Goals from Henry Weir, Chris Grassick, Ian Sloan, David Condon and Phil Roper gave them a 2-5 win.
GB play Belgium on Tuesday. Belgium has recorded a 7-2 win over Canada, but lost 1-0 to Australia.
The quarter final matches will be played on Wednesday and Thursday this week. If GB top their table, it seems likely they will play India for a place in the semi-finals.
INVESTEC WOMEN’S TROPHY
Round Two late results:
Burton 1 Shrewsbury 1. Shrewsbury win aps.
Northern 0 University of Liverpool 0. University win aps.
Round Three Draw:
Alderley Edge v Shrewsbury
Didsbury Greys v North Notts
Guernsey Women v Bishops Stortford
Harrogate v Northern
Leeds Adel v Leamington
Newent v Lewes
Salisbury v Teddington
Wisbech Town v Lindum
Round Two Results:
Aylesbury 7 Berkswell & Balsall Common 2
Bristol & West 0 Tavistock 2
Camberley & Farnborough 4 Slough 0
Cheshunt 3 Tring 2
Haslemere 4 British Airways 4. Haslemere win aps.
Keswick 2 Lymm 0
Leamington 1 Boots 8
North Notts 2 Streetly 2. North Notts win aps.
Nuneaton 5 Ludlow 5. Ludlow win aps.
Somming 1 Trinity Mid-Whtgiftians 2
Triton 8 Tamworth 0
Wootton Bassett 5 South Gloucester 4
Mid Sussex v Yately – w/o to Mid Sussex
Round Three Draw Awaited
HOTSHOT SHEEHAN MAINTAINS SLOUGH’S DOMINANCE
There are some matches that just defy any brief sound-bite description, and the East Conference match between leaders Slough and bottom of the table Ipswich is one of them.
It definitely should have been no-contest. Readers who follow our top-scorers table will be aware that Slough’s Amy Sheenan is the Investec League top scorer this season. Her side has scored a massive 38 goals this season, of which 15 have been hers. Ipswich is at the bottom of the table, with only nine goals to their name. Slough has a hugely experienced squad, and although the difference in average age between the two teams is marginal, the deficit in experience shows up when you look at the number of sub-21 players that Ipswich field – five to Slough’s one. Yep – definitely no contest.
Coaches of top clubs worry endlessly about matches like this one. Playing a club that appears to pose no threat can sometimes generate a match-losing complacency. Slough’s coach, former Olympian Kalbir Takher, probably had something to worry about after his side spent the first 35 minutes of the match parked in Ipswich’s half of the pitch without being able to find the net. The puzzle was that Slough were quite clearly the better side on the pitch, and Ipswich’s inexperience showed up with a noticeable skills deficit.
The second half turned into quite a different match, with Ipswich starting to make significant inroads into the Slough end of the pitch. It was therefore ironic that Sheehan found the net in less than one minute of the half to score Slough’s first goal. She managed to follow this up with a second, which she walked into the goal, 12 minutes before the final whistle.
Then something quite extraordinary happened. Ipswich showed every sign of turning the match around by a last gasp comeback. Asha Tranquille-Day in the Slough goal had to stick her leg out to save more than once, and a Slough stick got in the way of some goalward bound shots.
Ipswich then managed to win a series of penalty corners, from which Charlotte Anderson managed to find the net. But it was too late. The whistle blew two minutes later and it was all over.
So, Slough stay well ahead at the top of the East Conference, whilst Ipswich remain rooted at the bottom. You can see why they are there, but you cannot help admire their pluckiness in remaining in the match against all the odds. Both sides have been amongst our top English sides in past seasons. Ipswich finished second in the Premier Division in 2001, before being relegated via the play-offs eight years later. Slough’s fall is more recent, being relegated in 2013. One of the two sides is now fighting for promotion. The other is fighting for survival.
Saints v City Draw
Slough’s dominance of the East table was increased over the weekend by two outside challengers only managing a draw. Cambridge City was rescued from defeat by a 70th minute equaliser by Tess Howard when they were trailing 3-2 at St Albans. It was the second Howard goal of the match and, a point of interest is that City’s other goal was scored by former Ipswich player Jo Ellis (not to be confused with Ben Rhydding’s Jo Ellis).
Another two sides to draw their matches were Sevenoaks and Harleston Magpies, who finished their match 2-2.
Newly promoted Hampstead & Westminster seem to have overcome their mid-season wobble with their second consecutive win. This was against Wimbledon, who despite being 0-2 ahead after only eight minutes, went on to lose 3-2.
Hampstead & Westminster are eight points behind Slough, with the gap between them and third placed St Albans opening to two points. They are then followed by Cambridge City and Sevenoaks.
Amongst the strugglers, Maidenhead recorded a useful 0-2 win at Chelmsford, with former international Jane Smith getting on the scoresheet. This opens the gap between bottom-placed Ipswich and ninth-placed Maidenhead to five points. Chelmsford is five points ahead of Maidenhead on 12 points.
Canterbury’s Craig Boyne
RICHMOND LOSE TO BOTTOM CLUB – CARDIFF LOSE THEIR FIRST MATCH – BOWDON STOPPED BY PRESTON
Hitherto unstoppable Richmond dropped points for the third time in four weeks on Sunday. What makes it even more remarkable was that their opponents were bottom placed Harleston Magpies, who had not previously recorded a win. Magpies 2-0 win at home still leaves them bottom of the table by five points.
Southgate put last week’s setback at Sevenoaks behind them to beat Bromley & Beckenham 1-2. Sevenoaks were less fortunate, going down 3-2 at Cambridge City. Those results shake up the top of the table quite a bit, with Southgate moving back into second, two points behind Richmond. Cambridge City move up from fourth to third, whilst Sevenoaks drop down two places to fourth. However, with only three points separating first from fourth, it’s still all up for grabs.
Brighton & Hove must be wondering what they need to do to move up the table. Over the weekend they beat Oxted 0-3. That’s 16 points from their last seven matches, and yet they have only managed to climb from seventh to sixth. Meanwhile, Teddington and West Herts drew 4-4, which leaves them both on 10 points and fighting to avoid the relegation play-offs at the end of the season.
As the season progresses the number of side’s with 100% records is eroded, and another one bit the dust on Sunday. Cardiff & Met were beaten by none other than Guildford. The 2-1 result is only Guildford’s third win of the season, and they are one off the bottom. And bottom-of-the-table Chichester Priory Park had a good result against third-place Birmingham University. They drew 2-2 thanks to a late penalty corner conversion by Chichester’s Jack Lewill.
The highest scoring match in the West was between Bath Buccaneers and Cheltenham. Buccs’ 4-2 win closes the gap between them and Cardiff to four points. Indian Gymkhana’s declining form saw them lose 1-0 to Isca. Gym were in second place earlier in the season, but have sunk to fourth, with University of Exeter and Fareham only one point behind them. Those two clubs played out a 2-2 draw on Sunday, which had the surprising effect of moving both up one place in the table.
The Conferences proved to be a dangerous place for the leading clubs over the weekend, and so it proved for second-placed Bowdon. They lost 2-1 at Preston. Top placed Loughborough Students had more fortune, winning 1-3 at Sheffield Hallam. That means that the gap between first and second had opened up to four points.
Bottom placed Lichfield nearly managed to scrape a point against visiting Deeside Ramblers. At 2-2, Ramblers Edward Peek scored a 65th minute goal to give them the win. That was good news for the Deesider’s as it moves them up into fifth.
There are four sides in the Conference North who each have a game in hand. They are Loughborough Students, University of Durham, Olton & West Warwicks and Lichfield. Wins for any of these teams will not change their league position with the exception of Durham. A good win for them in their re-arranged match against Olton could move them into second place.
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