Loughborough students and Chelmsford Ladies strolled through to win the Higgins Group National Indoor Leagues in the last round of games yesterday.
Both teams came through the eight-match programme with maximum points. At Kidderminster, Students gained impressive wins against St Albans and East Grinstead, both teams who have qualified for finals night at Crystal Palace on Friday 30 January, with Beeston completing the line-up. St Albans clinched their place with a workmanlike 7-5 win over East Grinstead.
Chelmsford's journey to the final was the result of a solid team performance with three fine contributions by the goalkeeper, Katy Roberts, the captain and corner striker, Lisa Wooding, and Lynn Bollington. Chelmsford ended their programme with a 9-0 win against St Austell with Wooding scoring six and Bollington a hat-trick.
Going into the final day's play, it seemed likely that Hightown and Clifton would make the play-offs. Slough came good in the final run-in and with both having already qualified for finals night, their last game against Hightown was a dress rehearsal for their semi-final clash. Slough, the defending champions, overcame having four players away with Great Britain to come from behind and beat Hightown 4-3.
Their guest player, Olton's Rachel Walsh, replacing her sister, Kate, scoring the winning goal just 45 seconds from time.