Surbiton face weekend double

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THE new leaders of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, Surbiton will be aiming for a double winning weekend with both league and cup clashes.

They entertain Leicester in the league on Saturday, before heading to Beeston 24 hours later in the quarter finals of the Investec Women’s Cup.

While second-placed Canterbury have a game in hand, that isn’t being played until the following week – and looking ahead all eyes will surely be on the crucial clash between the top two on March 8.

Surbiton drew 1-1 with Leicester earlier in the season, but manager Mark Atherton said: “Leicester will always give us a tough challenge, and we’re missing our international players. But we will go into that match with confidence.

“The league campaign is very much our priority, but we will by and large field our full first team for the Cup match too. We’ve invested very much in our young players over recent years, and we’re seeing the fruits of that with an average age in the squad of less than 23.”

Elsewhere, Canterbury go to strugglers Sutton Coldfield in search of a win to keep the pressure on the new leaders, while Reading will want to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to Surbiton when they head to the University of Birmingham. A victory there could put them top of the table.

Bowdon Hightown eye a place in the top four, and could achieve that if they win at Beeston, while Clifton play host to bottom of the league Olton and West Warwickshire.

In the Investec Conference North leaders Wakefield face a trip to second-placed Brooklands Poynton, with the winners guaranteed top spot.

Leaders Holcombe entertain bottom-placed Chelmsford in the Investec Conference East, while East Grinstead will be aiming to close the six-point gap when they travel to Old Loughtonians.

After a late goal helped them salvage a narrow 2-1 win at Trojans, leaders Buckingham face third-placed Oxford Hawks in the Investec Conference West. Meanwhile, second-placed Slough could go top if they beat Isca.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League and the Investec Women’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 15 2014)

Investec Premier Division
Beeston v Bowdon Hightown 12:00
Clifton v Olton & West Warwicks 12:30
Surbiton v Leicester 14:00
Sutton Coldfield v Canterbury 14:00
University of Birmingham v Reading 12:30

Investec Conference East
Harleston Magpies v Horsham 12:30
Holcombe v Chelmsford 18:00
Old Loughtonians v East Grinstead 13:00
St Albans v Ipswich 13:00
Wimbledon v Sevenoaks 14:00

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

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

Investec Women’s Cup, quarter finals (Sunday, February 16 2014)
Buckingham v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Beeston v Surbiton 12:00
Univ of Birmingham v Gloucester City 12:30
Hampstead & Westminster v Sevenoaks 14:00