WINCHESTER remain third in South Hockey League Premier Division 2, still six points behind London Edwardians, after a goalless stalemate against the league leaders.

Edwardians lead the field with 25 points, with Winchester one behind 20-point Horsham after their draw at King’s School, writes Jon Player.

Winchester were boosted by the return of central defenders Kevin Boniface and Chris Jackson.

But a dour midfield battle developed. The home side’s England Under-18 goalkeeper, Rory McCullum, saved from a narrow angle and Martin Harris shaved a post from a similar angle with the keeper beaten.

Winchester were rarely exposed but skipper Boniface was equal to the challenge in a rare one-on-one.

Kieron Malloy had the first real chance of the second half, but Winchester were pinned into their back third as it continued.

McCullum deflected an attempt around the post but on the whole Winchester were able to clear their lines effectively.

A physical game featured a hail of suspension cards with Winchester having to play most of the last quarter with a maximum of ten men.

No penalty corners had been awarded until of the game.

When Edwardians won the game’s first penalty corner in the 60th minute, an excellent McCullum save maintained the status quo.

Winchester won their only corner with two minutes left, but Edwardians broke rapidly before Boniface came to the rescue once again.

Although still in contention with one game before the Christmas break, at Marlow on Saturday, coach Ben Hibberd will be concerned that Winchester’s last three games have only yielded two points and just one goal.

l Winchester II remain three points clear of Weymouth at the top of Hampshire League, Division 1, courtesy of a late Andy Winnett equaliser against Havant III at windswept HMS Dryad on the top of Portsdown Hill.

The leaders twice fell behind, initially after 15 minutes.

A tomahawk equaliser by Matt Stokes drew half-time parity.

But Winchester were frustrated by Havant’s deep defence and inspired goalkeeping.

Havant restored their lead from a penalty corner, before Winnett made it 2-2.