Leaders Surbiton take on Leicester

Surbiton's Abi Robinson fights her way into the Beeston 'D', Sept 27 2014, by Peter Savage - 450

Leaders Surbiton take on Leicester in a mouth-watering Premier Division clash as the Investec Women’s Hockey League resumes on Saturday.

Unbeaten in both the indoor and outdoor leagues this season, Surbiton are clearly a side in good form and will provide a stiff test for Leicester who they beat 3-1 back in October, as well as in Division One of the Hockey 5s Championship.

But that was Leicester’s only defeat in the indoor league, and they will join Surbiton in the top-flight next season after finishing second.

“The indoor league has always been part of our season programme,” said Surbiton coach Brett Garrard. “We wanted to get into the Premier Division and now we can build on that as we have in the outdoor league.

“It won’t be easy this weekend as Leicester are a tough team. Before we beat them in October we hadn’t had a sniff of a chance against them in the three years we’ve been in the Premier Division, and we don’t expect things to be any easier this time.

“We’ve got just a couple of injury niggles floating around, but we’ve used 24-25 players so far this season and have a great squad, so it won’t be a problem for us.”

Elsewhere Clifton – who got their 2015 fixtures off to an early start with a 3-0 win over Reading in a re-arranged match last Saturday – head to bottom of the table Beeston, and could go top if Surbiton slip up.

Third-placed Canterbury will want to beat hosts Buckingham and keep pace with the top two, while Holcombe go to Bowdon Hightown and the University of Birmingham entertain Reading.

In the Investec Conference West leaders Slough, currently eight points clear at the summit, play host to third-placed Gloucester City, and second-placed Swansea City are at home against Trojans.

Wakefield travel to Whitley Bay and Tynemouth as they bid to preserve their lead in the Investec Conference North, while Brooklands Poynton entertain Loughborough Students and could go top if Wakefield lose in the North East.

Unbeaten East Grinstead are at home against second-placed St Albans in the big match of the day in the Investec Conference East on Saturday. East Grinstead hold a six-point advantage so the visitors need a win to maintain their title challenge.

* The above file photo of Surbiton’s Abi Robinson is by www.hockeyimages.co.uk

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 7 2015)

Investec Premier Division
Buckingham v Canterbury 12:00
Beeston v Clifton 12:00
Univ of Birmingham v Reading 12:30
Bowdon Hightown v Holcombe 13:45
Surbiton v Leicester 14:00

Investec Conference West
Swansea City v Trojans 12:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Isca v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Cheltenham v Stourport 12:30
Slough v Gloucester City 13:00

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

Investec Conference East
Sevenoaks v Wimbledon 12:00
Bedford v Chelmsford 13:00
East Grinstead v St Albans 13:30
Harleston Magpies v Ipswich 14:00
Maidenhead v Horsham 13:30