Hockey: Allchin puts Bankers in sight of title

Bill Colwill
Tuesday 18 March 2003 01:00

Jon Allchin, with an impressive 10-goal haul in Sheffield University Bankers' 20-0 win over Warrington, almost certainly did enough to ensure his side will become champions of the North Premier League and go into the National League play-offs at the beginning of May. The prize that awaits the play-off winners is a return to the National League, from which the Bankers were relegated at the end of the 1999 season.

With one game left Sheffield could lose to Wigan and still win the title providing Ben Rhydding do not beat Oxton 22-0. Allchin took his season's total to 51 goals in 21 games including seven consecutive hat-tricks. Saturday's game was nevertheless a tad farcical. Since knowing that they would be relegated Warrington have lost heart and fielded understrength teams against Timperley, Brooklands and Ben Rhydding, before arriving in Sheffield with just nine players.

In the other leagues, the young Turks of Worcester Norton have moved gracefully through to the play-offs from the Women's Midland Premier after their first season at the top regional level and St Austell, nine points clear at the top in the West, have already claimed their place. In the men's competition two clubs who have previously tasted the National League, Whitchurch, the Welsh club playing in the West League, and Crostyx, in the East, have already made the play-offs.

Elsewhere, the battle goes on. Old Georgians lead the way in the South after their 5-1 win over Richmond with Ghazanfur Ali, their Pakistan World Cup player, scoring a hat-trick. There were also nap hands for their nearest rivals Beckenham, 5-0 winners at Fareham, and Purley Walcountians, who put five past Oxted. With three games to play Beckenham and Purley are five points behind the Old Boys who have only two games left.

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