Investec Play-Off battle starts this Sunday

Jane Sixsmith, Sutton Coldfield, 2011, 450

This Sunday the Investec Women’s Hockey League Play-Offs starts at Cannock HC, as four teams take to the pitch to fight for the top flight. Three teams are there for promotion, while one is avoiding relegation, so all have a lot to play for.

In the Investec Women's Hockey League Play-Offs the three winning Investec Conference sides join the team finishing in ninth place in the Investec Premier Division for a four team round robin tournament, with the top two teams claiming Investec Premier Division places for the next season. Here's this season's competitors and what they'll be bringing to the tournament. 

Investec Conference East champions - Holcombe
First we look to Conference East, where Holcombe have made the play-offs with the help of England internationals Laura Unsworth and Maddie Hinch. Having only conceded 11 goals this season, less than half their nearest East Conference rivals, and finishing with an impressive 64 goals (more than any other team in the Investec Women's Hockey League), Holcombe will be aiming to continue this trend heading into the Play-Offs.

Investec Conference North champions - Brooklands Poynton
In the Conference North Brooklands Poynton join their counterpart men’s team (Brooklands MU) in playing for their respective Premier Division. Brooklands Poynton have already had a taste of the Premier Division, having been relegated at the end of the 2009/10 season. Their final vitory against Kendal sealed their place in the Play-Offs, but with the narrowest victory out of all the Conference winners and eight fewer goals than their close competitors Wakefield, Brooklands Poynton will have to bring their best if they’re to make it back to the top division.

Investec Conference West champions - Buckingham
From Conference West Buckingham are making their fourth successive appearance at the Play-Offs, never having managed to earn promotion – will this be their year? Finishing four points ahead of Slough, their closest rivals in the Conference, and only letting in eight goals over the course of the season, they’re heading into the tournament from a strong position and off the back of a final win against Gloucester City.

Investec Premier Division ninth place - Sutton Coldfield
The ninth-place team from the Premier Division is Sutton Coldfield, saved from automatic relegation by Olton and West Warwicks but in no way out of the woods. With only three victories under their belt this season, they’ll have a fight on their hands if they want to hold on to their place in the Premier Division. They’ve managed for the past three years, earning their place in 2010, so they know what’s needed to stay in the top-flight.

That’s all the teams for the Play-Offs, but who do you think will find themselves in the Premier Division once the dust has settled? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, then come to the League Finals Weekend to see your teams in person and cheer them on from the sidelines in their final matches!

Sunday 30 March at Cannock HC

1230 - IWHL Play-Offs Match 1
Holcombe (East) v Sutton Coldfield (Prem)

1430 - IWHL Play-Offs Match 2
Buckingham (West) v Brooklands Poynton (North)