Hockey: Wimbledon win puts league lead in sight

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The Independent Online
WIMBLEDON, THE South Premier draw specialists, are just one point behind the league leaders, Fareham, following their 2-0 victory away to the Hampshire club. A David Alford penalty corner after 10 minutes gave Wimbledon the lead with Gareth Nicholls collecting the second 15 minutes into the second half when he deflected a drive into the roof of the net.

Third-placed City of Portsmouth lost 4-1 at home to Old Cranleighans. The Surrey side would now be in third position had they not been deducted three points for refusing to start a game after the umpires had been delayed in arriving at the ground. With their appeal rejected arbitration is now being considered. On Saturday Cranleighans' goals came from John Reed, Will Stevens, David Knapp and Mark Smith with Portsmouth's reply coming from the evergreen Stuart Avery.

In the Premier Holidays East Premier, Ipswich's 2-1 win over the leaders, Peterborough Town, has again opened up the league. Ipswich are now just two points behind, but third-placed Cambridge University have two games in hand. The University were in sparkling form again on Saturday when they beat Blueharts 6-3. Adam Laird got yet another hat-trick, and two goals from Ali Cotton and one from Roger Wilcock completed the demolition.

In the Women's Regional Leagues the odds are heavily stacked in favour of respective leaders Deeside Ramblers, Colwall, Bedford and Harleston Magpies going through to next season's National League although in the South the battle is really on. Dulwich are currently leading on goal difference from Rover Cowley with Tulse Hill in third place. Runners-up in each league, providing they are not second XIs, will go into a play-off with the bottom club from the Second Division for a round-robin competition with the winner only to qualify.

nYesterday's quarter-final draw of the EH Women's Cup ensures at least one non-Premier side - Chelmsford, drawn at home against Bradford - goes through to the semi-finals.

EH WOMEN'S CUP Quarter-finals: Chelmsford v Bradford; Fyffes Leicester v Clifton Scottish Life; Hightown v Olton Terraquest; Slough v Doncaster (Ties to be played on Sunday 28 March).