Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Southgate and Isca secure promotions to England Hockey Premier Divisions

When Kwan Browne was announced as coach last May, he called the club a “sleeping giant” in his bid to take Southgate back to the top echelons of the men’s domestic game. He now has his wish after Southgate won promotion to the Premier Division after a decade away following a dominating season in Division 1 South.

Southgate beat Team Bath Buccaneers 6-0 on the road on Sunday and, with two match weekends left and a 13-point advantage, now can’t be overhauled.

Southgate were last in the top flight in 2013 when they were demoted alongside Brooklands Manchester University, who have already been relegated from the 2022/23 Premier Division.

It’s still tight at the bottom with University of Bristol and Oxford Hawks holding the relegation places, while Old Cranleighan and Brighton & Hove are not safe heading into the last batch of matches.

In Division 1 North, Cardiff & Met are almost assured of the title and promotion to England Hockey’s Premier Division for the first time.

They hold a six-point lead over Bowdon, who they beat 4-0 this month, with a goal difference of +36 over their rivals. Cardiff have come close to securing play-off spots in recent years only to fall short on goal difference. Coach Walid Abdo, who has spent 15 seasons with the club, is now on the cusp.

At the bottom, Belper and Barford Tigers are in danger of relegation.

Isca reach women’s top flight

In Vitality Women’s Division 1 South, Isca & University of Exeter are celebrating promotion to the Premier Division for 2023/24 and will join Clifton Robinsons as two west country sides in the top flight.

Isca, unbeaten from 16 matches, trounced Canterbury 9-0 at home and will now play their last two matches on the road.

Meanwhile Witney travel to Cambridge City in a basement battle and both sides needing three points.

In Division 1 North, it’s a two-way tussle for promotion, with Bowdon and Stourport locked on 40 points each with two games left.

Four clubs are in a relegation fight, Leeds and Brooklands-Poynton currently nestled at the bottom.

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