Hampstead hoping for Surbiton scalp

Hampstead and Westminster Matt Botha, Credit Simon Parker - 450

After making one of their best starts for several seasons, Hampstead and Westminster are relishing the challenge of playing Surbiton in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

Currently fifth, Hampstead’s only defeat came narrowly at Reading and they are making a realistic challenge for a top four spot.

“We’ve had a really good start to the season,” said Hampstead team manager Thea Hitchcock. “It’s great to see us doing so well before Christmas, we’re definitely a better team this year and are only getting stronger. We have a lot of experienced players here who have gelled very well.”

Surbiton have former Hampstead coach Todd Williams, while Andy Hayward was with Hampstead last season and is now among the ranks at Sugden Road.

“It will be a cracking game, what with the history of players and Todd being there now,” added Hitchcock. “Surbiton have made a very good start but we’re doing very well too and we seem to pull a few results out of the bag when we play away, so who knows what will happen?”

Elsewhere, Brooklands Manchester University have a challenging match ahead as they prepare to host Holcombe at Georges Road, while last season’s champions Wimbledon go to bottom of the table Canterbury.

Reading and Beeston will meet on Sunday too, while Saturday’s only top flight match sees East Grinstead go to Cannock for an evening clash.

In the Men’s Conference West, the University of Exeter are preparing for a tough match away at leaders Cardiff and Met, while second-placed Indian Gymkhana go to Team Bath Buccaneers.

Leaders Loughborough Students are at home against unbeaten Bowdon as the top two clash in the Conference North, while third-placed Deeside Ramblers head to Sheffield Hallam.

Richmond battled to a dramatic 4-3 away win at Cambridge City last weekend, and they are back in Conference East action on Sunday against Brighton and Hove at the Quintin Hogg Memorial Ground.

Oxted and Southgate both moved up the table to second and third respectively after victories last weekend, and they meet each other this Saturday. The team that Southgate beat, Sevenoaks host West Herts.

* The above photograph shows Hampstead and Westminster’s Matt Botha in action during the 2014-15 season. Credit: Simon Parker.

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, October 24, 2015):

Men’s Premier Division
Cannock v East Grinstead 18:00

Men’s Conference West
Fareham v Chichester Priory Park 17:30
Isca v Cheltenham 12:30

Men’s Conference North
Loughborough Students v Bowdon 18:00
Wakefield v Lichfield 13:30

Men’s Conference East
Teddington v Harleston Magpies 12:30
Southgate v Oxted 14:00
Bromley and Beckenham v Cambridge City 16:30
Sevenoaks v West Herts 17:00

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, October 25, 2015):

Men’s Premier Division
Reading v Beeston 14:30
Canterbury v Wimbledon 12:45
Surbiton v Hampstead and Westminster 14:00
Brooklands Manchester Univ v Holcombe 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Univ of Exeter 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Indian Gymkhana 13:00
Guildford v Univ of Birmingham 14:00

Men’s Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Deeside Ramblers 13:30
Univ of Durham v Doncaster 14:00
Preston v Olton and West Warwicks 14:00

Men’s Conference East
Richmond v Brighton and Hove 14:30