Men's England Hockey League Preview

In the Men’s England Hockey League there’s a split across the weekend with most of the activity taking place on Saturday but a handful of games are set for Sunday.

Men’s EHL Premier Division
With East Grinstead and Beeston in Euro Hockey League action there’s an opportunity for some of the men’s Premier Division’s other protagonists to steal a march.  With their Euro Hockey League campaign getting underway next weekend Reading have shuffled fixtures and play twice this weekend; at home to Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday and at home to Surbiton on Sunday. The Berkshire club pulled off what to some was considered a shock last weekend when a Simon Mantell double paved the way for a 3-2 win at East Grinstead.  Surbiton’s Matt Daly missed the first half of last season with injury but has started brightly, jointly leading the top scorers list with EG’s Ashley Jackson; both have four goals.

Early front runners Cannock are at ‘home’ to Bowdon on Sunday with the match taking place at Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School.  The Staffordshire side has lost just one goal in the opening games. Southgate, currently rock bottom of the division with just a single point, have the opportunity to leapfrog their opponents on Sunday when they host the University of Exeter.  After a fine opening day victory over Reading, the students have lost their last two although they are still level on three points with Beeston, Bowdon and Hampstead & Westminster. The other students, Loughborough, have the weekend off due to the Euro Hockey League commitments of Beeston.

Men’s EHL Conference North
All five matches in the Men’s EHL Conference North on Saturday.  Olton & West Warwicks left it late last weekend to secure a point against Belper coming back from 3-0 down to seal a 3-3 draw in the 69th minute.  Things are unlikely to get any easier this weekend as they travel to early league leaders Sheffield Hallam Civica, who beat Leek 4-2 last weekend. Ali Ghazanfar bagged another brace last weekend, meaning he is still the top scorer across the entire Men’s England Hockey League but his Deeside Ramblers side went down 4-2 to Doncaster.  Tim Shelley’s hat-trick of penalty corners did the damage for Doncaster, who host Brooklands MU.  Ghazanfar’s Ramblers play host to Leek while bottom of the table Barford Tigers are at home to the University of Durham.

Men’s EHL Conference East
It’s still tight at the top in Men’s EHL Conference East with three teams locked together on six points.  Top on goal difference is Holcombe, who are at tenth placed Bromley & Beckenham on Saturday afternoon.  Their closest rivals, City of Peterborough and Indian Gymkhana will be keeping a close eye on the result with both playing on Sunday.  Peterborough welcome Wimbledon, who are just a point behind them and who sealed last week’s 3-3 draw with Canterbury just two minutes from time.  Indian Gymkhana’s Jagdeep Gill scored two penalty strokes last weekend in the 4-2 win over Bromley & Beckenham and his side is at home again this week, against Oxted.  The remaining ties take place on Saturday as Teddington entertain Old Loughtonians and Canterbury host Harleston Magpies.

Men’s EHL Conference West
Whitchurch, the Men’s EHL Conference West leaders, host the only Sunday match in that division as Fareham are the visitors.  Whitchurch retained their top of the table status despite only taking a point from last week’s match at Cardiff & UWIC while Fareham lost at home to University of Birmingham. On Saturday, a number of sides will be hoping to leapfrog Whitchurch, chief among them the Birmingham students and Cardiff & UWIC. University of Birmingham are at home to Guildford, whose own home ground was the venue for one of the Hockey Nation roadshows this week, while the Welsh side travels to Cheltenham, who sit eighth, the bottom of five clubs on four points. Bottom of the table Bournville are yet to secure a point this season ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bath to face Team Bath Buccaneers, whose Tim Davenport is joint leading scorer with three. On the south coast, Havant and Lichfield meet.  Both lost last week and will hope to get back to winning ways.

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