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Slazenger England Hockey League Womens Premier Division
Just before the Christmas break Ipswich continued to struggle their way out of the drop zone only managing a draw 1-1 against bottom of the table, yet-to-win-a -game, Chelmsford who still have just a single point. Ipswich are on 5 points, two below Trojans with Poynton seventh in the Division four points below Clifton. Both Chelmsford and Clifton have a game in hand. 4th placed Canterbury went down to runaway division leaders Bowdon Hightown thanks to a single goal from Tina Cullen in open play on 11 minutes. Bowdon are now on 27 points at the top, nine points clear of nearest rivals Olton and West Warks and have remained unbeaten so far with nine straight wins.
But second placed Olton had a tough game against ever-improving Poynton, illustrating the fact that there are few certainties this season for teams. The Cheshire team withstood constant pressure in the first half and only conceded a first goal in the last few minutes of the first half with Naomi James scoring for the Midlands side in open play. The second half was more evenly matched and Poynton equalised soon after the break with Helen Armishaw's 4th goal in 4 games. Poynton looked the likely winners at this point but chances came and went and it was Olton who took the lead from a short corner with 15 minutes remaining , once again from Naomi James. Cath Linaker should have equalised shortly afterwards but that chance went begging and Poynton were left disappointed not to have at least picked up a point.
Elsewhere, 3rd in the table, Slough, were beaten 1-0 by Leicester thanks to a goal in open play from Lucy Brown in the 54th minute. At Coombe Dingle Sports Complex , Clifton had the better of new-comers Trojans courtesy of penalty corners from Fleur Horner on 6 minutes, Harriet Pearce on 16 and Ellie Mumford on 51 minutes. Amy Sheehan had scored for Trojans on 37 minutes in open play.
The league now takes a break with the second half of the season beginning on January 30th 2009. Poynton will then have Bowdon in a much anticipated local Derby. Canterbury take on Leicester and Ipswich have Clifton with Trojans tackling Slough at Stoneham Road. Hapless Chelmsford take on Olton at Chelmer Park.
Albums of images from the Womens Premiership games online here.