[img_assist|nid=6143|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=93]EAST Grinstead overwhelmed Loughborough Students 8-1 in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League on Saturday, overtaking Beeston to lead the Premier Division table.
With Beeston playing in the Euro Hockey League, East Grinstead took full advantage to top the table on goal difference from Reading in second, while Beeston drop to third, albeit with a game in hand.
It took ten minutes for East Grinstead to take the lead with Ashley Jackson getting on the end of a penalty corner. They went on to score three more before the break with Mark Pearn, Ricky Fraser and Andy Piper all on target. Chris Griffiths pulled one back for Loughborough.
But it was to be a comprehensive win for East Grinstead as Pearn added a second and Mark Gleghorne found the goal. Niall Stott grabbed a late brace to complete the scoring.
Hampstead and Westminster prevailed in a hard-fought battle against Cannock, running out 3-2 winners. Goals from David Smith, Richard Hildreth and Toby Roche sealed the win for them although Cannock pushed them hard. Dave Beckett hit a brace for the visitors and could have had a hat-trick but for his 26th minute penalty stroke cannoning back off the post.
Reading emerged 3-0 winners from their trip to Sheffield Hallam, but were made to work for it by a tough home defence.
Brothers Richard and Simon Mantell scored in the first half, from a corner and open play respectively, and Nick Catlin’s last minute goal sealed the win.
Canterbury had to battle back from two-nil down before winning 3-2 at home against Wimbledon.
Rob Pryce and Phil Ball had given Wimbledon the lead, but the hosts hit back to lead 3-2 with goals from Mickel Pierre, Isaac O’Connor and Liam Foster.
Goalkeeper Tom Millington did his best to keep Wimbledon in the game when he saved a 62ndminute penalty stroke from Ben Allberry, but it wasn’t enough to salvage victory.
Holcombe secured a 4-1 win over Old Loughtonians in the NOW: Pensions Conference East, with Danny Hall scoring two while the others came from England ace Barry Middleton and Alex Jennings.
St Albans beat Southgate 3-2, while there were away wins for Teddington (5-0 at Brighton and Hove) and Richmond (5-2 at Oxted).
In the NOW: Pensions Conference North, University of Durham remain unbeaten despite falling behind to hosts West Bridgford. They fell behind to an early goal from Paul Sibley, but Durham’s quality showed in the end as Jonny Maunder’s two goals, along with strikes from Sam Driver and Tom Batchelor saw them win 4-2.
With Cardiff and Met playing in Europe, the rest of the teams in the NOW: Pensions Conference West had the chance to make up some ground on the leaders. It was Havant who made the most of the opportunity as a brace from Jonathan Pickett and another goal from Oliver Nail saw them beat Isca 3-1 to go second on goal difference.
Teddington have been deducted six points for fielding an unregistered player. This decision was made by the IWHL/NPMHL committee and is in respect of Ted Bennett who was not registered with the NPMHL but played in their games against St Albans on 28 September and Holcombe on 6 October. The club were also fined. The club can appeal against this penalties.
NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, October 12 2013):
NOW: Pensions Men’s Premier Division: Canterbury 3, Wimbledon 2; East Grinstead 8, Loughborough Students 1; Hampstead and Westminster 3, Cannock 2; Sheffield Hallam 0, Reading 3.
NOW: Pensions Men’s Conference East: Brighton and Hove 0, Teddington 5; Bromley and Beckenham 3, Cambridge City 1; Holcombe 4, Old Loughtonians 1; Oxted 2, Richmond 5; St. Albans 3, Southgate 2.
NOW: Pensions Men’s Conference North: Brooklands MU 5, Deeside Ramblers 1; Khalsa (Warks) 4, Olton & West Warwicks 5; Leek 4, Belper 2; Wakefield 1, Bowdon 3; West Bridgford 2, University of Durham 4.
NOW: Pensions Men’s Conference West: Fareham 3, University of Exeter 5; Guildford 1, Cheltenham 2; Isca 1, Havant 3; University of Birmingham 2, Team Bath Buccaneers 3.