Canterbury grabbed a last-gasp lifeline to premier division survival and sent Brooklands MU back to the regional conferences, as the men’s England Hockey League regular season ended on a dramatic note.
Michael Farrer’s after-the-whistle corner goal took Canterbury to a 2-1 home win over Brooklands MU, and into ninth place, one point ahead of the Manchester side who are now automatically relegated.
Canterbury live on to fight the relegation/promotion playoffs against the winners of the national league regional conferences.
The other drama in the men’s premier was Bowdon’s 4-1 defeat of visiting Reading which, along with Loughborough Students’ 4-3 loss at league winners East Grinstead, propelled Bowdon into the fifth playoff spot.
With the playoff teams already decided in the women’s premier. The Reading vs Bowdon Hightown game would decide third place, and with it an easier route to the championship final. Reading won that one 4-0 to avoid the double-header weekend that goes with a fourth- or fifth-place finish.
At the bottom end of the women’s premier, Cannock have survived their first season in the top flight. A 3-1 home win against University of Birmingham, along with Olton and West Warwicks 2-1 home loss to Clifton pushed Cannock into the safety of eighth-place. Olton meanwhile must fight for premiership status in the promotion/relegation playoffs. Brookland Poynton (10th) have already been relegated.
For full league tables and results:
The playoffs (April 2-3) will be
Reading (4) vs Bowdon(4) – winner to play East Grinstead (1) for a place in the final
Beeston (2) vs Surbiton (3) – winner into the final
Bowdon (4) vs Slough (5) – winner to play Leicester(1) for a place in the final
Canterbury (2) vs Reading (3) – winner into final