Top two prepare for battle in Investec Premier Division

LEVEL on points at the top of the table, Reading head to Canterbury on Sunday for a match which could prove crucial to both sides hopes in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Both sides have identical records with Reading only top on goal difference, so a mouth-watering clash is expected at Polo Farm (12.30pm start).

The two sides met on the opening day of the season at Sonning Lane and Canterbury edged a close 2-1 victory, but Reading haven’t lost a league match since.

"We’ve got a clear vision that we take each game one at a time, but obviously there’s a big focus on the Reading match,” said Canterbury coach Jen Wilson. “There’s always things that you can take out of previous matches and it was great to beat Reading, but that was several weeks ago and things have changed for both sides.

“That was the first match of the season, whereas now we are both more established and have different personnel available. Luckily for us we have a full squad available.

“It should be a fantastic day with the men’s game afterwards, but also we have several hundred young hockey players in action in the morning, so we’re looking forward to an exciting day for the club, and for hockey as a whole.”

For Reading’s part, they will be without six key players who have flown to Argentina with the England squad, while many other internationals will be unable to turn out for their teams this weekend.

Following the women’s clash between Canterbury and Reading, it is the turn of the men’s teams in the NOW: Pensions Premier Division (2.30pm start).

Meanwhile, Surbiton will want to continue their climb up the table when they go to Clifton on Saturday. Currently third, a victory would bring them to within just two points of Reading and Canterbury.

Fourth-placed Leicester entertain University of Birmingham. A win could lift them above Surbiton, but if they lose and Clifton win they will drop out of the top four.

Bowdon Hightown are also chasing a spot in the top four and are just two points behind Leicester. They go to bottom of the league Olton and West Warwickshire on Saturday.

The middle of the table is very close, and Beeston, currently in seventh, could move up three spots if they win at Sutton Coldfield and other results go their way.

In the Investec Conference West, third-placed Isca head to fourth-placed Oxford Hawks in a match which is crucial to both sides hopes of catching up with the teams above them.

Elsewhere in the Investec Conference West, leaders Slough entertain Trojans while Buckingham could go top if they win at Bristol Firebrands.

Second-placed Brooklands Poynton go to Stourport in the Investec Conference North, while leaders Wakefield entertain Ben Rhydding.

And in the Investec Conference East, leaders Holcombe head to Wimbledon.

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Saturday, November 23 2013

Investec Premier Division
Clifton v Surbiton 13:00
Leicester v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Bowdon Hightown 12:00
Sutton Coldfield v Beeston 14:00

Investec Conference East
Chelmsford v East Grinstead 14:00
Harleston Magpies v St Albans 12:30
Ipswich v Horsham 14:00
Sevenoaks v Old Loughtonians 13:30
Wimbledon v Holcombe 14:00

Investec Conference North
Boots v Doncaster 12:30
Stourport v Brooklands Poynton 12:00
Univ of Durham v Loughborough Students 12:00
Whitley Bay & Tynemouth v Kendal 12:30
Wakefield v Ben Rhydding 13:30

Investec Conference West
Barnes v Swansea City 12:00
Bristol Firebrands v Buckingham 13:30
Exe v Gloucester City 13:00
Oxford Hawks v Isca 12:00
Slough v Trojans 13:00

Sunday, November 24 2013

Investec Premier Division
Canterbury v Reading 12:30