Champs Reading prepare to defend women's indoor title

Reading Women, Supersixes winners 2012-13 - 450

WOMEN’S indoor hockey returns to Bromsgrove School this weekend with the Maxinutrition Hockey 5s Championship Premier Division.

Reading (pictured) were finally crowned champions of the Maxifuel Super Sixes last year after having to settle for second place in the two previous years.

They will be hoping to defend their title in the new format competition this year but face a difficult set of fixtures on the opening day at Bromsgrove School with Leicester and Bowdon Hightown awaiting them.

Reading are in fine form in the outdoor competition, currently second in the Investec Premier Division but Leicester and Bowdon Hightown are also competing for top four spots.

Reading field a strong squad on the first stage of their title defence, including five players who helped England to the bronze medal in last weekend’s World League - Kate and Helen Richardson- Walsh, Sam Quek, Susie Gilbert and Alex Danson.

However Susie Townsend has opted to play for Bowdon Hightown as does Sally Walton. This is in line with tournament regulations where clubs can field a maximum of two players who play outdoors for different teams.

Other registrations of note see England keeper Maddie Hinch in goal for Slough and her team-mate Sophie Bray in the colours of East Grinstead who have been promoted to the top flight for the first time. Another international on show - but from cricket not hockey - is Susie Rowe who is playing for Canterbury.

Bowdon Hightown have the honour of opening this year’s competition, taking on East Grinstead at 10:30. The action carries on all day with games starting every hour until Leicester versus Reading at 18:30.

Sunday’s programme begins at 9am, with another nine games throughout the day which ends with Leicester versus Bowdon Hightown.

Last year’s losing finalists, Sutton Coldfield, have a tough start to their campaign with games against Canterbury and Slough on Saturday.

Canterbury lead the outdoor Investec Women’s Hockey Premier Division and have only lost one game thus far. They will be hoping that they can continue their imperious performances indoors.

Olton and West Warwickshire have had a disappointing outdoor campaign, failing to score a single point from 11 games. They will be hoping to put that to the back of their minds when they take on Slough and East Grinstead on Saturday.

The Maxinutrition Hockey 5s Finals will be played on 2 February 2014 at Wembley Arena. You can get more information and buy tickets at www.englandhockey.co.uk/maxi5s

Fixtures for Saturday, December 14 2013:
Bowdon Hightown v East Grinstead 10:30
Olton and West Warwickshire v Slough 11:30
Canterbury v Sutton Coldfield 12:30
Harleston Magpies v Leicester 13:30
Reading v Bowdon Hightown 14:30
East Grinstead v Olton and West Warwickshire 15:30
Slough v Canterbury 16:30
Sutton Coldfield v Harleston Magpies 17:30
Leicester v Reading 18:30

Fixtures for Sunday, December 15 2013:
Olton & West Warwicks v Canterbury 09:00
Harleston Magpies v Reading 10:00
East Grinstead v Slough 11:00
Sutton Coldfield v Leicester 12:00
Bowdon Hightown v Olton & West Warwicks 13:00
Canterbury v Harleston Magpies 14:00
Reading v East Grinstead 15:00
Slough v Sutton Coldfield 16:00
Leicester v Bowdon Hightown 17:00