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Investec Women's Hockey League
The Investec Women’s Hockey League began on Saturday with a few surprise results throughout the divisions. It’s not often, if ever, that a Leicester team can be seen in the lower reaches of the Women’s Premier Division, though if you do it’s most likely at the beginning of a season than the end.
Clifton, then, recorded a shock opening day 5-1 victory over last season’s Premier Division runners-up, Leicester. Els Mansell struck twice in the first 15 minutes to put Clifton up by two at half time and though Kim Hicklin pulled a goal back for Leicester, Mansell scored her third with eight minutes remaining closely followed by Joanna Leigh and Emily Kirkham’s late strikes that condemned Leicester to defeat. The East Midlands side conceded just twelve goals last season in topping the table at the end of the regular season, so, conceding nearly half that in their first game will have been a shock for their normally resolute defence. Clifton will be delighted with the result having flirted with the relegation play-offs before finishing five points clear of safety last season. Reading’s new Australian import, Meredith Bone, opened her account for the reigning champions on Saturday. Her goal followed Rebecca Halle’s seventh minute opener to earn a victory for the Berkshire side away at EuroCanterbury.