Relegation threat for four teams

Loughborough Students pressure Beeston, Feb 2013 - 450

THE battle to avoid the threat of relegation continues this weekend, with four teams still fighting to dodge the drop in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Any one of three teams could still automatically go down, while any one of four could find themselves embroiled in the play-offs with the three Conference winners.

Sheffield Hallam – who dropped to bottom following Loughborough Students’ win last weekend - entertain Canterbury on Sunday, while the Students play host to Beeston.

Eighth-placed Cannock take on Surbiton at Chase Park on Saturday, and first team coach and performance director Andy Mitchell is looking forward to an exciting match.

“With my hand on my heart, I think we can beat Surbiton at home. It’s going to be tough for them to come to us, because the crowd at Cannock always gets right behind us.

“Cannock is a massive hockey club, but apart from the student sides we’re the youngest in the league. We lack a little match craft sometimes, but we score plenty of goals and hopefully that will see us through.

“And our final match is against our Midlands rivals Beeston, so again – who knows what could happen? I think we’ve got to get something out of these last two games to make us safe, but we can do it.”

Elsewhere Hampstead and Westminster entertain Wimbledon knowing a victory in Sunday’s match will ensure their Premier Division safety.

And at the top end of the table East Grinstead take on third-placed Reading with both sides battling for automatic qualification for Europe.

The race for a place in the promotion play-offs continues with leaders Brooklands Manchester University hosting second-placed Bowdon in the NOW: Pensions Conference North on Saturday. Victory for Brooklands will ensure they go forward to the play-offs.

Cardiff and Met play host to Isca in the NOW: Pensions Conference West. Currently top of the table by just two points, Cardiff will want to maintain their lead and stave off second-placed Team Bath Buccaneers who go to Cheltenham.

And in the NOW: Pensions Conference East leaders Southgate play Old Loughtonians on Saturday afternoon, while second-placed Holcombe entertain bottom of the table St Albans on Saturday evening.

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, playing 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

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 15 2014)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division
Cannock v Surbiton 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Holcombe v St Albans 18:00
Southgate v Old Loughtonians 14:00
Teddington v Oxted 13:45

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Brooklands MU v Bowdon 14:00

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 16 2014)

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

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Brighton and Hove v Bromley and Beckenham 13:00
Cambridge City v Richmond 12:30

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Khalsa v Leek 14:30
Olton and West Warwickshire v West Bridgford 13:30
University of Durham v Deeside Ramblers 13:30
Wakefield v Belper 14:00

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