Oxford will be playing their hockey in the second tier next season after going winless in the 2022/23 ICG Women’s Premier.
In a season to forget, the side only scored five goals from their ten matches, more than three times less than the next lowest in the league.
The misery of Oxford was compounded with two 4-0 defeats in less than a week in the last two games of the season, when they faced top-half teams from Birmingham and Nottingham.
Oxford’s failure to improve results in relegation
Oxford were made to work hard last season to remain in the ICG Women’s Premier, having to go through the playoff to earn their place.
They ended the 2021/22 season with just one win, and were not relegated thanks largely to the fact that they were better than Cardiff Met, who finished bottom.
Their sole victory in the league came against the relegated side for that season, in the first fixture of 2021/22. It would prove enough to allow Oxford an opportunity to fight to retain their ICG Women’s Premier status.
In the playoff, they went up against Newcastle, who had finished as the top eligible side from the ICG Women’s Premier North with an impressive five wins in eight.
Newcastle had already missed the chance for promotion in one playoff after a defeat to Bath in the Premier North v Premier South match. Oxford were able to make it two failures from two for Newcastle in a key 2-0 victory.
However, Oxford continued to struggle in the top tier in 2022/23, conceding an average of almost five goals a game as they lost all eight games to confirm their relegation.
Bath’s win over Nottingham Trent key in deciding playoff challenger
Above Oxford in the league was Nottingham Trent, meaning they now have to fight to be in the top division next season.
The East Midlands side ended the season with five points, but with just one win, against Oxford.
However, two draws, including one against fifth-placed Durham, saw Notts Trent finish only one point behind newly-promoted Bath.
This exemplifies the importance of the fixture between the two sides, who faced off in early December. It was a close affair, as to be expected, with Bath coming out on top with a 4-3 victory.
As a result of their eighth-placed finish, Trent now have to play either Newcastle or Cardiff Met for their place. This will decided by the loser when the two sides battle it out for a place in the ICG Women’s Premier.
Therefore, Newcastle may have two opportunities earn their revenge over Oxford, albeit a year later, for their playoff defeat last season.
Nottingham end ICG Women’s Premier seven points clear
There was less of a battle at the top of the league, with Nottingham winning eight games out of eight to end the season in first. The 2022 champions scored 34 goals as they dominated on their way to first place.
Exeter ended the season in second, seven points behind Nottingham, after losing just once. Loughborough
Birmingham and Durham rounded out the top five, with sixth-placed Edinburgh ending the season three points better of than Bath.
The league season does not determine the champions, with the final standings determining the draw for Women’s National Championship. Nottingham and Exeter are awarded byes, with Durham playing away to Birmingham, and Loughborough hosting Edinburgh in the quarter finals.
The top two enter in the semi-final phase, with the two winners facing off to try and earn the crown of BUCS women’s hockey champions for the 2022/23 season.