The final matches of the Investec Women’s Hockey League and the Men’s Hockey League season took place this weekend.
Beeston men have secured the third place in the league and qualify for the play-off finals at Lee Valley on Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th April.
Investec Women’s Hockey League
Slough’s hopes of avoiding the relegation battle rested on the University of Birmingham losing to Beeston, and for several minutes it looked likely to happen with Beeston leading for much of the first half thanks to Rebekah Walker’s ninth minute strike.
But the University of Birmingham hit back with goals from Philippa Stewart and Amelia Andrew to take a 2-1 win and condemn Slough to finish ninth.
A dramatic late fightback saw Buckingham clinch the fourth and final play-off spot in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, but their 3-2 win condemned Slough to a fight against relegation.
Lauren Thomas struck first for Buckingham but Philipa Newton and Laura Bailey scored either side of the half to give hosts Slough a lifeline.
But Phoebe Richards scored on 67 minutes from open play, and Lottie Porter put her side ahead with a 68th minute penalty stroke to clinch the win.
Holcombe wrapped up top spot in the Premier Division with a slender 1-0 win over bottom side Canterbury, setting up a semi-final clash with Buckingham in the play-offs.
Already relegated, Canterbury fought well but eventually succumbed to Heather McEwen’s penalty corner.
Surbiton did all they could to push Holcombe, beating Bowdon Hightown 4-0 away from home.
Izzy Petter, Jenna Woolven (2) and Georgie Twigg all got on the scoresheet for Surbiton who will face a home tie against East Grinstead in the play-offs.
Sophie Bray netted a hat-trick for East Grinstead in their 3-2 win over Clifton Robinsons who were also in the hunt for fourth place.
Clifton Robinsons were 2-1 up thanks to Natasha Marke-Jones and Claire Thomas but couldn’t make it last. Clifton’s Thomas and East Grinstead’s Sophie Bray finish the regular season as joint top goalscorers with 18 goals.
Men’s Hockey League
Beeston secured three points on the final day of the season after winning 3-1 at bottom of the table Sevenoaks.
Gareth Griffiths gave the away side the lead in the 16th minute before Ali Taylor hit back for Sevenoaks in the 45th. Alex Blumfield regained the lead for Beeston in the 48th minute and Joe Sharp sealed the points with a goal from open play in the 53rd.
East Grinstead secured the fourth and final play-off spot after beating the University of Exeter 2-0 in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Simon Faulkner gave the home side the lead in the 46th minute with a goal from free play before Ross Stott cemented the win with another goal in the same fashion just one minute later.
The win confirms that East Grinstead will join Surbiton, Hampstead & Westminster and Beeston in the end of season play-offs on 13-14 April at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.
Table toppers Surbiton ended their season with another win, this time at Wimbledon.
Tom Sorsby gave the away side the lead in the 63rd minute and Dave Beckett secured the points with a goal from open play in the last minute.
Second-placed Hampstead & Westminster were also victorious, winning 2-1 at Brooklands MU.
Kei Kaeppeler gave the away side the lead in the ninth minute before David Flanagan hit back for Brooklands in the 44th. But Will Calnan secured the victory with a goal from open play in the 57th minute.
Elsewhere, Reading had play-off hopes heading into the weekend, but although they beat Holcombe 3-1 East Grinstead’s victory meant Reading miss out on the play-offs.
Matt Richards scored a brace for Reading and Fred Newbold also found himself on the scoresheet. Matthew Symonds scored for Holcombe in the 47th minute, but it wasn’t enough.