Ipswich women on course for nationals

IPSWICH Hockey Club's women's side have reached finals day of the National Indoor Championships for the fourth successive year after securing third place in the Premier League.

IPSWICH Hockey Club's women's side have reached finals day of the National Indoor Championships for the fourth successive year after securing third place in the Premier League.

The Suffolk side will now play Bowdon Hightown in the semi-final on January 27 at Birmingham's NIC Arena.

With Slough and Olton making up the other semi-final, these four teams will be battling it out for the right to be England's only club representative at the 2009 European Indoor Championships.

Ipswich had gone into their final four league games of the Championship in fourth place on goal difference and, along with six other clubs, were fighting for just four places.


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Despite missing indoor star Leisa King, who had work commitments, Ipswich could not have started the weekend better with a 5-4 win over third placed Olton.

The second game saw Ipswich battle relegation threatened Canterbury and, while not happy with their standard of play, the Suffolk team ground out a vital 2-1 victory.

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With leaders Slough losing to a resurgent Bowdon Hightown, Ipswich finished Saturday's fixtures in second place tied on 15 points with the Berkshire team.

Ipswich twice led in the first half, before two controversial umpiring decisions saw Slough go 3-2 ahead. With two minutes to go Ipswich withdrew their keeper for an outfield player but the gamble did not pay off and Slough scored their fourth goal from a penalty corner to win 4-2.

With the race for the top four going down to the wire Ipswich knew that they had to draw their last game to make completely sure of their place.

Last up were already relegated opponents Sutton Coldfield and, despite running out 4-1 winners, Ipswich will know that they can perform better.

Fellow east region club Chelmsford's defeat to Olton saw them narrowly miss out on fourth spot.

Tickets for finals day can be bought on the England Hockey website: www.englandhockey.co.uk, or by calling: 0870 909 4144.

Results

England Indoor Hockey

Premier League

Ipswich 5 Olton 4

Ipswich 2 Canterbury 1

Ipswich 2 Slough 4

Ipswich 4 Sutton Coldfield 1

Fixtures

Sunday 27 January

National Semi-finals (live on Sky Sports 3)

13.10 Slough v Olton

14.20 Bowdon v Ipswich

18.00 Women's Final

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