The final weekend before the winter break saw the last spot in the top six confirmed in the Men’s Premier Division while the Vitality Women’s Premier Division frontrunners were stunned.

Oxted, Beeston and East Grinstead were all in contention to secure the remaining place in the top half of the Men’s Premier Division standings before the post-Christmas split.

And it was East Grinstead who ultimately came out on top in the three-way battle, defeating Beeston to pinch sixth place after Oxted slipped up against Hampstead & Westminster.

In-form Old Georgians also ensured they will go into 2022 top of the Men’s Premier Division after leapfrogging Wimbledon at the summit with victory over defending champions Surbiton.

In the Vitality Women’s Premier Division, Hampstead & Westminster’s flawless start to the campaign was ended by Surbiton in the final game before the mid-season break.

Hampstead & Westminster remain top of the league table on 27 points but Surbiton and East Grinstead are now just three points behind them heading into Christmas.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Vitality Women's Hockey League

Surbiton ended Hampstead & Westminster’s perfect start to the campaign with a brilliant win in the final round of Vitality Women’s Premier Division action before the mid-season break.

Heading into the weekend, Hampstead & Westminster’s record read nine matches, nine wins, but Surbiton – themselves also unbeaten this term – ended that streak with a 3-2 triumph.

Darcy Bourne gave the hosts a 1-0 lead from a penalty corner after just ten minutes before Georgie Twigg doubled the advantage in similar fashion eight minutes later.

Grace Balsdon’s 33rd-minute strike pulled one back for Hampstead but when Bourne got her second goal with 43 minutes played, Surbiton were on the verge of victory.

The Kate Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Kelleher-coached side did fight back as Emily Douglas scored with eight minutes left but they couldn’t find an equaliser as their winning run was ended at nine games.

Hampstead & Westminster remain top of the table on 27 points but Surbiton and East Grinstead are now just three points behind them heading into Christmas.

East Grinstead moved into that position as they impressively beat Clifton Robinsons 6-1.

The West Sussex side had their 14-match home unbeaten run ended by Surbiton last week but bounced back with three goals in each half.

Lydia McDonnell, Chloe Brown and Robyn Bentley all netted before half-time, with Bentley notching her second, the in-form Sophie Bray scoring once more and Eliza Wheeler finishing things off in the second 35 minutes.

Holly Munro’s goal from a penalty corner had briefly reduced Clifton Robinsons’ deficit to 3-1 but the hosts ultimately proved too prolific.

Clifton’s place in the all-important top six was already secure before the weekend and they will join Hampstead & Westminster, East Grinstead, Surbiton, Wimbledon and Beeston on the right side of the split after Christmas.

Beeston ended the first half of the campaign on a negative note, however, as Loughborough Students recorded their third victory of the season with a 2-1 triumph.

Olivia Hamilton scored after four minutes and Izzy Petter doubled the Students’ lead before half-time which meant that even though Mads Newitt’s effort set up a grandstand finish, Loughborough left as victors.

Meanwhile, in the battle of the bottom two, winless Swansea’s run stretched to ten games as they fell 4-1 to Holcombe.

Italy international Ivi Pessina scored twice, while Emma Bandurak and Candice Manuel also got themselves on the scoresheet for Holcombe, as Beth Wood grabbed Swansea’s only goal.

And the scheduled match between University of Birmingham and was postponed due to snow on the pitch.

There was also one game in the Women's Conference Midlands that had been rearranged from earlier in the season and Bedford beat Broxbourne 4-1 to stay second in the table, moving to just three points behind leaders Sutton Coldfield.

Beeston 1-2 Loughborough Students

East Grinstead 6-1 Clifton Robinsons

Holcombe 4-1 Swansea

Surbiton 3-2 Hampstead & Westminster

University of Birmingham P-P Buckingham

Men's Hockey League 

Jamie Wallace was the hero for East Grinstead as his hat-trick sealed a 3-2 victory over Beeston to help the West Sussex side qualify for the top six in the Men’s Premier Division.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

East Grinstead went into the final weekend before the winter break in eighth place in the standings, knowing only a win would do to claim the last top six place.

They also needed fellow top six rivals Oxted to lose to Hampstead & Westminster if they were to usurp them in the league as a nerve-jangling final day played out in dramatic fashion.

Beeston, who were two points behind Oxted in seventh but with a better goal difference, landed the first blow in the sixth minute as Kai Aichinger scored from a penalty corner.

East Grinstead responded ten minutes later as Wallace levelled the scores from another penalty corner before he put the home side in front on 18 minutes.

The two sides went into the break level again after Beeston responded with an equaliser on 31 minutes, with Sam Apoola converting to set up a blockbuster second half.

But it was Wallace who rose to the occasion to secure the victory, striking home the winner on 61 minutes to ensure East Grinstead kept their top six qualification hopes alive.

And Oxted’s 4-1 defeat to Hampstead & Westminster meant East Grinstead completed a remarkable turnaround, having only secured their first win of the season a fortnight ago.

Hampstead were already assured of their place in the top six but ensured they went into the mid-season break on a high thanks to a brace from Rupert Shipperley.

Matthew Guise-Brown had opened the scoring for the visitors at Oxted School from a penalty corner in the 16th minute before Josh Kelly doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark.

Shipperley put the result beyond doubt before the half-time interval with his first goal on 34 minutes, although Nick Giles gave Oxted hope with a penalty stroke on 54 minutes.

Any thoughts of a comeback were put to bed on 67 minutes, though, as Shipperley struck again to seal a comfortable win and dash Oxted’s hopes of a place in the top six.

Elsewhere, Old Georgians overtook Wimbledon at the top of the standings going into the winter break as they defeated defending champions Surbiton 2-0 at St George’s College.

Old Georgians went into the game on the back of three consecutive wins and took the lead after just eight minutes when Chris Griffiths found the target for the home side.

A second goal followed on 25 minutes through Lee Morton to put Old Georgians 2-0 up at the break and that was the way it stayed as the hosts saw the second half out.

With previous league leaders Wimbledon having already completed their ten matches ahead of this weekend, Old Georgians’ ninth win of the season saw them move to the summit.

University of Exeter also picked up their first points of the season with a 3-3 draw with University of Durham, although it could have been even better after leading twice.

Charles Taylor put the home side ahead on 20 minutes, but Durham responded after the break with two goals in five minutes from Jakob Schmidt and Max Garner.

Rhys Bradshaw equalised for Exeter on 50 minutes before Louis Ridge put the hosts back in front again, only to be denied in the 70th minute by Schmidt’s second goal from a penalty corner.

The final game of the weekend between Brooklands MU - whose bid for the top six ended last weekend in double header defeats - and Holcombe was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

Brooklands MU P-P Holcombe

East Grinstead 3-2 Beeston

Old Georgians 2-0 Surbiton

Oxted 1-4 Hampstead & Westminster

University of Exeter 3-3 University of Durham