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Hockey - 31. March 2008.

England Hockey Women's Premier League

Poyton Still In It.

Photos and Report by John Coxon


Newly crowned champions Slough were, astonishingly,beaten by fifth in the league Clifton in a five-four thriller this weekend but it has been a season of up and owns. 3rd placed Leicester thrashed 4th place Olton and West Warwicks Ladies 5-1. Steady Bowdon, at home, enjoyed a 2-1 win over Canterbury but such end of term skirmishes had little impact in the schem of things since the top six in the league are comfortably home and dry. But it was make or break this weekend at the boiling bottom of the table ; notably for Poynton wanting to avoid the playoffs by displacing third from bottom Chelmsford with Old Lougths out of it and playing for pride.


Usually formidable Ipswich, who have struggled in the second half of the season with a squad effectively depleted of five regulars players (through pregnancy, injury and job changes) travelled to Chelmer Park hoping to secure their own safety against Chelmsford one point below them. A draw was all they needed and that's all they got.


Hapless Old Loughts made the long trek North to Manchester with an unbridgeable five point deficit at the bottom under the Fixtures Live thin red line where they have languished pretty much all season and where, win or lose, they could not avoid relegation. Second from bottom all season Poynton took to the pitch at Bellevue having established their credentials of late in beating both Bowdon and Olton convincingly but dipping to 6th place Canterbury in their previous game.


It was a high pressure the first ten with Poynton ever pressing forward and matching Old Loughts all over the field . The breakthrough came on 16 minutes with a fine individual run down the right wing from Jane Ambler, finally crossing a sweet ball in open play which Katie Maltman knocked home leaving the Old Loughts goalie no chance. From then on it was end to end stuff with Poynton on the up until, against the odds , on the stroke of the half time whistle Old Loughts scored following a neatly worked set piece in open play knocked home by Miranda Weeks.

The second half , on what was a cold an damp Bellevue , saw more end to end stuff with Poynton mostly dominant and a number of shorts with neither side managing to convert and some fine goalkeeping at both ends of the pitch. There was a weird silence after the final whistle blew broken finally when Sinead McCarthy , Poynton's captain, called for three cheers for Old Loughts. Both teams must have been in shock- Old Loughts knowing they were going out after that long journey North and Poynton knowing that they still were in with a chance the following week and yet stunned that after playing so well they had not done better.

Next week they take on Chelmsford. Lose and they are in the play offs , win, and they stay if goal difference comes into play. More shots from the game at Poynton v Old Loughtonians

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