Table-topping East Grinstead face champs Beeston

East Grinstead Mark Pearn 450

TOP of the table on goal difference, free-scoring East Grinstead take on last season’s champions Beeston in round three of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League on Saturday.

Twelve goals in their first two matches has put the Sussex side top of the early table, but they will need to be at their best if they are to preserve top spot with Beeston having battled to a hard-fought win over Reading last weekend.

“Beeston are a very able outfit and they’ve clearly started the season well,” said East Grinstead manager Matt Jones. “This is the kind of match that any Premier Division player looks forward to playing in.

“It will give us a benchmark of how this new-look East Grinstead side is shaping up. But it’s too early really to look at the table. Only after five or six games we will get a good feel for who the form teams are.”

Elsewhere Surbiton also have two wins from their first two matches, and they will be aiming to extend that run when they host Wimbledon, who bolstered their squad in the summer with the signings of several key players including Michael Hoare (from Beeston), Henry Weir (from Loughborough Students), Phil Roper (from Sheffield Hallam) and Alastair Brogdon (Waterloo Ducks, Belgium).

Other Premier Division action sees Cannock travel to Reading, while newcomers Sheffield Hallam will be aiming to secure their first win at home against Hampstead and Westminster.

Finally, Canterbury entertain Loughborough Students.

Another side to have boosted their squad significantly over the summer are Holcombe, who finished runners-up in last season’s NOW: Pensions Conference East.

With England and GB ace Barry Middleton having signed up alongside Dan Fox (from Hampstead and Westminster) they are keen to challenge for promotion, and will be aiming for another big win on Saturday when Brighton and Hove are the visitors.

Meanwhile, early leaders Southgate play host to Cambridge City.

There are only two teams left with 100 per cent records in the NOW: Pensions Conference West, and they meet each other this Saturday when Team Bath Buccaneers host Cardiff and Met.

In the NOW: Pensions Conference North last season’s runners-up Bowdon take on newcomers West Bridgford, while early leaders University of Durham travel to another side with a 100 per cent record, Brooklands Manchester University.

Meanwhile, Sunday sees the start of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup with 32 first round matches scheduled to take place.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 28 2013)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Canterbury v Loughborough Students 13:00
East Grinstead v Beeston 14:00
Reading v Cannock 14:00
Sheffield Hallam v Hampstead & Westminster 13:30
Surbiton v Wimbledon 18:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Bromley and Beckenham v Oxted 12:00
Holcombe v Brighton and Hove 14:30
Richmond v Old Loughtonians 13:30
Southgate v Cambridge City 14:30
St Albans v Teddington 13:00

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Brooklands MU v Univ of Durham 13:30
Deeside Ramblers v Belper 12:00
Leek v Olton and West Warwicks 14:00
Wakefield v Khalsa (Warks) 15:30
West Bridgford v Bowdon 13:30

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Fareham v Havant 17:00
Indian Gymkhana v Isca 14:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Cardiff & Met 13:00
Univ of Birmingham v Guildford 14:30
Univ of Exeter v Cheltenham 12:30