On Sunday 19th April, Support through Sport UK's Claire and Rhian travelled to Lee Valley Hockey Centre, the new home of England Hockey. The Centre is situated within the Olympic Park and Claire and Rhian were there to cover the Investec Ladies Hockey League Finals. Claire reports back ...
With two teams battling it out for a place in the Premier Division, and two other teams fighting to be Premier League Champions (and also fighting for a place in Europe), the spectators were poised for some excellent hockey.
First up, Wakefield took on East Grinstead. As both teams were eager to secure a place in the Premier League next season, the game was predictably fierce; neither team wanting to let anything get past them. Any goal scored by the one team was soon matched by the other, resulting in the teams being neck and neck until the very last minutes of the game. It was Pippa Rabey who, in the 65th minute, scored a goal for East Grinstead from a penalty corner. This resulted in a 4-3 victory for East Grinstead and a place in the Premier League next season.
Support through Sport UK's Patron, Sophie Bray, scored two of the four goals for East Grinstead and I managed to catch up with Sophie after the game, and in the midst of all the excitement, and get her thoughts ...
'We came into the weekend with all to play for. With a loss in our last game before the weekend, we knew we had to win both our games this weekend to secure our place in the Premier League. We knew we had the squad to be able to do this though, and we started off well yesterday with a 7-1 win. Today we were all very edgy and a bit nervous but we got the result we needed, despite not playing particularly well. It's been a five year journey to get to the top and now I just can't wait for next season!'.
In the final match of the day, Canterbury took on Surbiton. Both teams were vying for the Premier League title and both teams were also hoping to secure a place in Europe next season. The stakes were high and the pressure was on.
As with the East Grinstead / Wakefield match, the game was neck and neck every quarter; each team battling hard.
Surbiton's Georgie Twigg was taken off due to injury. She later returned to the pitch but had to go off again. So, with one of Surbiton's highest profile players out, the battle was really on and there was some fast and furious play.
Surbiton, however, who had been undefeated all season, were not going to fall at the last hurdle and, sure enough, a final goal from them in the final minutes rewarded them with a 2-1 win, a Premiership title and a place in Europe next season.