Surbiton Hockey Club crowned Champions of the Vitality Women’s Premier Division Championship

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Dragflick Newsdesk : Surbiton sealed their eighth successive Vitality Women’s Premier Division title with a game to spare following a 1-0 win at East Grinstead on a super Saturday for the Londoners.

Their crown was technically wrapped up before they had even hit a ball, as nearest challengers Hampstead & Westminster – the only team who could still reel in the leaders – went down 2-0 at home to Beeston earlier in the day.

But Surbiton were determined to complete the job in style on the pitch and, fittingly, Darcy Bourne was the player who scored the all-important goal.

Bourne, who scored three consecutive hat-tricks earlier this year and received her first senior England cap in March, found the net on eight minutes and a resolute defensive display ensured Surbiton held on for the 14th win of their latest triumphant season.

Hampstead & Westminster had ended Surbiton’s hopes of an unbeaten campaign last weekend but were brought back down to earth by Beeston’s latest impressive display.

The Nottinghamshire side, who downed Wimbledon last time out, toppled another European hopeful as second-half goals from Cerys Miller and Hannah Grieve saw them leave the capital with all three points.

A Fiona Burnet-inspired Wimbledon took advantage to surge into the second European spot courtesy of a 6-1 win over Clifton Robinsons.

Burnet bagged a hat-trick and Eliza Brett, Harriet Naismith and Sarah Jones also found the target, with Claire Jones responding for the visitors.

Wimbledon now sit a point clear of Hampstead & Westminster in the race for Europe but face a tricky trip to the champions next weekend to round off their campaign.

Elsewhere in the top flight, relegated Swansea claimed their second victory of the season as they won 2-1 at Holcombe.

Katrin Gierak and Jessica Lea struck either side of Emma Bandurak’s equaliser to earn a morale-boosting success for a side who are ending a difficult season strongly.

University of Birmingham ensured they will finish as the best-placed of the Bottom 5 after sharing the spoils with Buckingham in a 1-1 draw.

Jemima Copeman opened the scoring in the second half but Madeleine Newlyn’s last-gasp leveller secured a point for the visitors.

Division 1 North

University of Nottingham secured promotion last week and played with title-winning freedom at Brooklands Poynton, sweeping to a 7-2 win to end their season in style. Nike Lorenz and Sally Sime each scored braces for the champions, who finish with a six-point lead over Bowdon after the runners-up let a two-goal lead slip in their draw with Durham University. Olton & West Warwickshire won the battle of the two relegated teams, beating Belper 2-1, while Ben Rhydding edged past Leicester City 3-2 and Stourport downed Gloucester City 4-1.

Division 1 South

Champions Reading finished their memorable season on a high, Emma Thomas’ double securing a 2-1 win over Wimbledon 2s. Second-placed Sevenoaks put six past Trojans without reply to consign their hosts to relegation. Harleston Magpies and Cambridge City therefore retained their Division 1 status and finished their season with contrasting draws, the Magpies sharing eight goals with Canterbury and Cambridge finishing goalless against Slough. Isca & University of Exeter overcame Surbiton 2s 4-2 and climbed a place to fifth as a result.

Conference East

Bromley & Beckenham’s relegation was confirmed after they went down 1-0 at home to Horsham – a result which, combined with scores elsewhere, saw their fate sealed. Fellow relegated side Canterbury were beaten 4-0 at home by Hampstead & Westminster 2s while at the other end of the table, champions Barnes picked up their 15th win in 18 matches with a 4-2 victory at Ipswich. Southgate beat East London 3-1 and London Wayfarers earned a 2-0 success against Chelmsford.

Conference Midlands

Sutton Coldfield stalwart Charlotte Cross ended her incredible tenure at the club in style, scoring her side’s second in the 3-0 win over St Albans which completed an unbeaten campaign. The champions finish with 50 points from a possible 54, the perfect way for Cross to sign off after 32 years with the West Midlands outfit.

Broxbourne ensured they did not finish bottom by winning 1-0 at University of Birmingham 2s, with Khalsa Leamington bringing up the rear after going down 3-0 at Loughborough Students 2s. Oxford University ended their season on a high, beating runners-up Bedford 2-1, and Beeston 2s won by the same scoreline at Cannock.

Conference North

Pendle Forest sealed survival in dramatic fashion, winning 3-1 at Didsbury Northern to finish on 20 points and earn a reprieve as the best of the ninth-placed teams across the Conferences. Alderley Edge and Timperley also survived, the former claiming a 3-1 victory at Doncaster and Timperley drawing 3-3 at Fylde.

Neston were therefore relegated after a 4-2 defeat at Durham University 2s consigned them to the foot of the table. Champions Leeds edged past West Yorkshire neighbours Wakefield 1-0 in the battle of the top two, who end the season separated by 12 points.

Conference West

Witney secured promotion with a 4-2 win over Clifton Robinsons 2s, which in turn relegated their visitors. Witney were a point ahead of Team Bath Buccaneers going into the final day and finished four clear after Bath blew their chances by going down 1-0 at home to Bristol Firebrands. Cita Haines netted a hat-trick as Oxford Hawks sealed third spot with a 5-2 win at Basingstoke, while Exe ended on a high as they beat Cheltenham 3-1. Penarth had a successful trip over the Severn Bridge, winning 2-1 at relegated University of Bristol.

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