SLOUGH have been surprisingly relegated from England Hockey’s Investec Women’s League Premier Division this season, writes Dave Wright.

They were narrowly edged out on goal difference after being one of three teams to finish the play-offs on six points last weekend.

The Pink and Blacks had survived in the corresponding event last year and a repeat looked on the cards when they made it two wins out of two after slamming Stourport 5-1 at Lee Valley on Saturday.

It took them nearly half an hour to break the deadlock, with Lucy Wood scoring her first goal of the season.

The Conference West champions equalised seven minutes into the second half through a penalty corner finished off by Beth Merriman, before Slough showed their superior class with three goals in quick succession.

Dilly Newton, scoring for the fifth time in eight games, restored her side’s lead on 55 minutes from a penalty corner and, when they forced another two minutes later, it was Immie Brown who supplied the finishing touch.

Just before the hour mark, Lizzie Totten made it 4-1, with Emma Onien adding the fifth two minutes from time.

Kali Takher’s team included Mel Ball, recovering from a double fractured jaw, and captain Kat McGonigle, nursing a badly broken finger.

Their bravery however was to go unrewarded on Sunday as they lost 3-0 to Loughborough Students at Lee Valley when just a point would have been sufficient in their bid for survival.

Slough, who went into the final round of games top of the table, fell behind three minutes before half-time when, from a penalty corner, Jen Park fired home from the centre of the circle.

Lucy Millington doubled the lead for the Conference North title holders in the 46th minute.

Hannah Grieve added the third on the hour mark with a drag-flick against the backboard from their third penalty corner of the game.

With eight minutes remaining, Slough withdrew goalie Asha Tranquille-Day to go with a kicking back, but they were unable to pull a goal back.

Millington and Beth Peers both went close to extending Loughborough’s lead in the closing stages.

This result meant three teams were locked together on six points from three games, leaving the final placings to be decided on goal difference. Hampstead & Westminster and Loughborough were both on plus six - giving the pair promotion to the Premier Division - and Slough plus two, meaning the Pink and Blacks will drop down to the newly-formed Division One next season.

They will be one of the favourites to win the title and so bounce back to the Premier Division, where they belong.