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England Hockey still considering outcome on league placings

Surbiton finished top of men and women leagues PIC: Simon Parker

England Hockey has yet to make contact with those league clubs whose seasons rest on the outcome made by the national governing body after the sport’s suspension following the coronavirus outbreak.

Unlike other sports, England’s two top flights had finished its regular season while Division One leagues had one match remaining before play-off matches were decided.

As such, plans for the remainder of the season, such as the Championship title, European places, promotion and relegation have yet to be resolved.

England Hockey said that it was still mulling over how best to finalise league placings.

A spokesperson said: “We are considering the impact of the on-going suspension of the England Hockey League programme and unfinished Clubs and Schools Championships and will communicate with all parties in due course.”

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On Thursday, the Football Association announced the end of its non-league season for Step 3 and below. All results were expunged, making the season null and void with no promotion and relegation.

However, there’s no doubting that English hockey chiefs have been left in a tricky position with the leagues having been so close to being completed.

In the men’s Premier Division, Reading have been automatically relegated, while University of Exeter’s fate has yet to be sealed after they finished in the promotion/relegation play-off position of ninth and set to play the loser of the Division One play-off match. In Division One North, University of Durham and Bowdon were set to push back in the final game of the season to determine the league winners, while Oxted awaited the winner after finishing as Division One South winners.

In the Investec Women’s Premier Division, Surbiton, as with the men, finished as league champs, while East Grinstead hold second spot. Hampstead & Westminster and Buckingham also reached the play-offs and are still in with a chance of top honours and European outdoor action for the first time. The same goes for Old Georgians in the men’s league, with Hampstead and Wimbledon having also qualified for the now cancelled play-offs.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon, champions of the Investec Division One, Leicester City and Swansea are all within touching distance of the women’s Premier Division. With Bowdon Hightown relegated, ninth place University of Birmingham’s future as a top flight club has yet to be determined.

There has been talk of expanding the Premier Division to 12 teams for one season, to potentially include Swansea, Wimbledon and Leicester. Some regional leagues have already finalised their seasons, the East League determining placings on a percentage points basis while the South Clubs and Midlands women’s leagues opting to conclude the season on final league placings.

On Thursday Hockey Ireland announced that the 2019/20 season for all league, cup and all other domestic competitions in Ireland had ended.

Final decisions on the details for the conclusion of the season will be published no later than April 12.

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