Tuesday, November 28, 2023

England Hockey Premier Division: Clifton Robinsons keep up top six bid

Clifton Robinsons coach Juliet Rayden hailed her side’s resolve after holding off a stirring comeback from Loughborough Students on Saturday.

The Robbies were 4-0 up shortly after half-time before the Students bagged three in 17 minutes to turn the tide. It was left to Claire Jones to add a fifth and keep Loughborough at bay despite Kirby Harris’s strike eight minutes from time.

“It was our best half of hockey we’ve had all season,” Rayden said of Clifton’s first half.

“Loughborough were still putting us under pressure and we were dealing with it. They had a couple of goals, they had nothing to lose and that is quite hard to play against. They never gave up.

“But I’m pleased we kept pressuring them and the fifth goal was crucial.”

Clifton have had a challenging start to the season, with a small squad of 18 outfield players and one long-term injury. It made Saturday’s win all the more crucial as the Bristol side aim to secure a top half place.

Rayden added: “We needed to try and put a distance between ourselves below us and to keep in touch with those above us, who all have a game in hand on us.”

Lucy Hyams’ excellent start to the season continues for Hampstead & Westminster. The Londoners made it six wins in a row with a 3-0 victory over Holcombe, Hyams netting a hat-trick and scoring for the third game in a row.

History was made as local rivals Surbiton and Wimbledon met for the very first time and played out a 1-1 draw, Fiona Crackles scoring for the Dons and Darcy Bourne equalising for Brett Garrard’s side.

East Grinstead recorded a third victory of the campaign as they inflicted a 4-1 triumph over Swansea, while University of Birmingham and Beeston both ended their recent losing runs with a 2-2 draw.

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