East Grinstead target outdoor success

East Grinstead 450

HAVING already been crowned the National and European indoor champions, East Grinstead men turn their attentions to the outdoor game this weekend with a double-header weekend in the Men’s Hockey League.

After struggling in the early stages of the season, East Grinstead find themselves seventh in the table facing matches against leaders Beeston and Hampstead and Westminster on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

But in one of the closest finishes for several seasons every team in the Premier Division is still in with a chance of a top four spot and a place in the end of season play-offs.

Just six points separate second to eighth in the table, and East Grinstead manager Matt Jones said: “The middle of the table is very condensed, and that makes it very interesting for the spectators and players alike. I think it will go right down to the wire with so many teams in the running.

“We want to use the immensely positive momentum we’ve created with winning the indoor league for the fifth year in a row, and now also the EuroHockey Trophy just last weekend.

“We’ve got a lot of players available to us now who weren’t around at the start of the season, and home advantage helps, especially after the busy itinerary and travelling we’ve had over the last couple of weeks.”

Also on Saturday is the re-arranged clash between Canterbury and Reading, while Sunday sees Beeston host Midlands rivals Loughborough Students in the first of a series of showpiece matches being especially promoted by the clubs and England Hockey.

Third and fourth play each other in the Cannock v Surbiton match, while the bottom two do battle with Brooklands Manchester University hosting Southgate.

Elsewhere, Teddington and Oxted do battle on Saturday afternoon in the Conference East. Fourth and third respectively, the promotion hopes of both sides rely heavily on winning the match and keeping the heat on the top two.

Leaders Wimbledon host Indian Gymkhana, while second-placed Holcombe go to the City of Peterborough.

In the Conference West, second-placed University of Exeter go to third-placed Team Bath Buccaneers, while leaders Guildford entertain bottom club Bristol Firebrands.

And Bowdon will be aiming to consolidate top spot in the Conference North when they entertain Olton and West Warwickshire, while second-placed Sheffield Hallam host Leek on Saturday evening.

Tickets for the end of season playoffs on 13-14 April are on sale now. Find out more and book via www.englandhockey.co.uk/mensfinals.

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 23 2013)

Premier Division
East Grinstead v Beeston 12:30
Canterbury v Reading 14:00

Conference East
Teddington v Oxted 15:00

Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Leek 18:30

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 24 2013)

Premier Division
Beeston v Loughborough Students 14:00
Brooklands MU v Southgate 14:00
East Grinstead v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
Cannock v Surbiton 14:30

Conference East
Cambridge City v Richmond 12:30
Bromley & Beckenham v Old Loughtonians 13:00
City of Peterborough v Holcombe 13:00
Wimbledon v Indian Gymkhana 13:30

Conference North
Univ of Durham v Wakefield 13:30
Belper v Khalsa (Warks) 14:00
Bowdon v Olton & West Warwicks 14:00
Doncaster v Preston 14:00

Conference West
Guildford v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Cheltenham v Havant 13:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Univ of Exeter 13:00
Whitchurch v Univ of Birmingham 13:00
Fareham v Cardiff & UWIC 13:30