Men's Promotion Playoffs this weekend

Gareth Andrew and Nick Catlin celebrate for Holcombe

The first round of games in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Promotion Playoffs are upon us with two matches set to take place this Sunday at Cannock Hockey Club.

The first of the games pits East Conference Champions Holcombe with North Conference Table Toppers Bowdon.

Neither side has tasted defeat this season, Holcombe winning 17 of their 18 games with one draw, whilst Bowdon have won 16 times, drawing twice. Both sides have scored plenty of goals, too. The Kent side broke the 100 barrier on their way to 110 goals for and just 21 against. Bowdon are no slouches either, netting 79 times and conceding just 23 times. It is fair to say that both these sides possess plenty of flair and plenty of firepower. Simon Egerton has been welcomed back with open arms to Bowdon and helped himself to 21 goals whilst Holcombe’s Gareth Andrew has 28 for the East Conference team. Great Britain skipper Barry Middleton has been in imperious form for the Kent outfit, alongside a number of his international teammates. With two great goalkeepers at either end in Rob Turner and George Pinner, there is quality all over the pitch. It has all the makings of a classic.

Canterbury's Kwan Browne weighs up his options against Cannock

Bath Buccaneers, the champions of the West, start their playoff campaign against Premier Division strugglers Canterbury. Bath have played some superb hockey on their way to the title. They wrestled top spot away from Cardiff and Met in dramatic fashion on the final day of the season and will be hoping to make it to the Premier Division after a disappointment in their last visit to the playoffs in 2011-12. Tim Davenport tops the scorers’ charts once again whilst in Liam Sanford they have an extremely talented player who was recently crowned Hockey Writers’ Club Young Player of the Year.

Canterbury endured a nightmare first half of the season but the introduction of some new faces at the Christmas break breathed new life into their season as they won four of their last seven matches to haul themselves off the bottom of the league. Australian Craig Boyne scored ten times in those seven matches, whilst Player-Coach Kwan Browne will show his big-game temperament once more. Canterbury have plenty of experience and will hope to become only the second premier division side, after Brooklands MU in 2009/10 to avoid the drop via the playoffs.

For full details of the schedule of games this weekend, click here.

The deciding two rounds of games will take place at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of Men's Finals weekend on 11-12 April. For all ticketing information, including how you can make money for your club by purchasing, click here.