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Sevenoaks and Beeston make moves for English hockey top flight

Univ of Nottingham celebrate against student rivals. (PIC: Andy Smith)

By The Hockey Paper

Sevenoaks captain Tim Warrington said his side took in past Play Off experiences to rally back and defeat Oxted – and take a big step towards securing top flight hockey next season.

Sevenoaks, who finished the season second from bottom in the top tier, produced a hard-fought 3-2 win over Conference East champions Oxted in the Men’s Hockey League promotion play-offs on Sunday.

Sevenoaks had to come from behind with Jason Ellis-Woodley giving Oxted an early lead before Warrington levelled the scores.

Thomas Rhodes then put Oxted back in front just after the break but strikes from Michael Shelton and Duncan Parnis gave Sevenoaks the win.

Warrington said: “It was particularly pleasing that we found the fighting spirit to come from behind twice to take the points. We’ve had a very challenging season, being on the wrong end of results most weeks, so to have the mental strength to find a late winner was great to see.

“I think our experience in the play offs last year contributed to our result. Last year we beat both Bath Buccs and Durham Uni 3-2 and we took confidence from that when we were 1-0 and 2-1 down, knowing that we had history of finding a way to win last year.”

Conference North champions the University of Nottingham also had to come from behind against Conference West champions the University of Exeter.

Sam Hooper slotted home from a penalty corner for Exeter after 12 minutes but second half goals from Luke Hudson and Adam Laitt saw Nottingham grab the win. The deciding games will be played at the Finals Weekend in London next week.

Elsewhere, Deeside Ramblers have been relegated from Conference North after losing both of their relegation play-off games, their latest defeat being a 5-1 loss at the hands of Old Georgians on Sunday.

James Tindall led the scoring for Old Georgians with a brace and they will avoid relegation if they can beat Cheltenham next weekend.

Meanwhile, Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference North champions Beeston drew first blood in the promotion play-offs with victory over Conference West champions Stourport.

Beeston overcame Stourport on Sunday (PIC: David Kissman)

It was a narrow 1-0 win for Beeston with Rosy Stephens scoring the only goal of the game from open play with two minutes of the first half remaining.

That puts them at the top of the table on day one, with the other game between Hampstead & Westminster and Slough ending in a 1-1 draw.

Joyce Esser nudged Hampstead in front after just five minutes but the Investec Women’s Conference East champions couldn’t hang on with Lizzy Totten equalising for relegation-threatened Premier Division outfit Slough just after the break.

But it’s still all to play for with the play-offs coming to a conclusion at the Finals Weekend in London next week.

In the relegation play-offs, Southgate took a huge step towards survival as the Investec Women’s Conference East side added to their three points with a valuable draw against Cannock of Conference West. Ruth Graham scored for Cannock and Caitlin Wales replied for Southgate.

Tickets for the League Play-Offs are still available here

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