Canterbury challenge for goalless Reading

Susie Gilbert file photo v Surbiton's Giselle Ansley, credit Tim Reder - 450

Without a win or a goal after two games, Reading will be aiming to put both those stats right when they go to Canterbury in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday evening.

Third in last season’s play-offs, Reading have been held at bay by both Surbiton and Clifton and lie eighth in the early table, but they will want to kick-start their season with a win in Kent (5pm start).

“We want to make it difficult for them, but we’re conscious that we’re missing a few key players,” said Reading coach Merijn van Willegem. “We’ve got some experience of playing Canterbury, and we will be using that to our advantage.

“We knew we faced three tough games at the start of this season, and it does worry us that we haven’t won or scored yet. To draw at Surbiton wasn’t that disappointing but we all felt that the Clifton loss was unnecessary; it was an unforced goal that we conceded, and perhaps we could’ve done more at the other end to make our chances count. But we are a good team and we understand the challenges we face.”

Elsewhere, Clifton head to Leicester in a bid to preserve the only 100 per cent record in the Premier Division, while reigning champions Surbiton play host to bottom of the table Beeston.

Holcombe would’ve been top of the table but for conceding a last minute goal in their match last Saturday and they will be aiming to keep their early form going when they host the University of Birmingham. Finally, Buckingham are at home against Bowdon Hightown.

In the Investec Conference East, unbeaten East Grinstead will be aiming to preserve top spot when they take on second-placed St Albans, while Horsham could also go top if they manage to beat Maidenhead at Broadbridge Heath.

After just two weeks no team has a 100 per cent record in the Investec Conference North. Leaders University of Durham entertain Wakefield who are one of six teams just one point behind, so the table could look very different after the weekend.

In the Investec Conference West, leaders Swansea City host Cheltenham, while Slough – who are the only other unbeaten team – head to bottom of the table Olton and West Warwicks.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 27 2014)

Investec Premier Division
Buckingham v Bowdon Hightown 12:00
Canterbury v Reading 17:00
Holcombe v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Leicester v Clifton 14:30
Surbiton v Beeston 12:00

Investec Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Isca 12:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Slough 12:00
Oxted Hawks v Trojans 12:00
Stourport v Gloucester City 18:00
Swansea City v Cheltenham 12:00

Investec Conference North
Ben Rhydding v Loughborough Students 13:30
Cannock v Sutton Coldfield 14:00
Kendal v Brooklands Poynton 14:30
Univ of Durham v Wakefield 14:00
Whitley Bay & Tynemouth v Liverpool Sefton 12:30

Investec Conference East
Chelmsford v Bedford 14:00
Horsham v Maidenhead 13:30
Ipswich v Harleston Magpies 18:00
St Albans v East Grinstead 13:00
Wimbledon v Sevenoaks 14:00