Champs face leaders in the Men's Premier Division

Holcombe's Harry Trusler takes a shot. Credit www.hockeyimages.co.uk - 450


Currently top of the Premier Division, Holcombe are preparing to take on last year’s Men’s Hockey League champions Wimbledon as the outdoor programme resumes on Saturday.

Holcombe are the only team in the top flight to remain unbeaten, but they are still only level on 27 points with second-placed Surbiton and still have work to do to between now and March.

But with Ashley Jackson, Barry Middleton and Iain Lewers away playing in the Hockey India League, Alistair Bray and Sam Ward both injured and Adam Jordan unavailable, Holcombe will not be at full strength.

“It will be interesting to say the least, but we can only play the cards we’ve been dealt,” said Holcombe president and first team manager Keith Martin.

“It has given us the opportunity to give some of our other players the chance to prove their worth to the first team.

“We’re ten points ahead of Wimbledon, but they will be desperate for points to stay in the play-off positions, while we reckon we only need about another six to make sure we finish in the top four.”

For their part, Surbiton will want to go top with a win over Brooklands Manchester University at Sugden Road, and may just do that – if only for a few hours on Saturday with the games at Holcombe and Surbiton being five and a half hours apart.

Surbiton will then turn their attentions to the Men’s Cup quarter finals, where they travel to the University of Birmingham on Sunday.

In other Premier Division matches on Saturday Reading go to Beeston, while East Grinstead are at home against Cannock in the day’s other 6pm match.

The final top flight match of the weekend sees Hampstead and Westminster play host to Canterbury on Sunday.

The top two clash in the Men’s Conference West on Sunday, with Cardiff and Met hosting Team Bath Buccaneers, while third-placed University of Birmingham are on the road at fourth-placed Indian Gymkhana.

Men’s Conference North leaders Loughborough Students are preparing to face third-placed University of Durham on Sunday, while Bowdon entertain Deeside Ramblers in a second versus fourth match.

And leaders Richmond head to second-placed Southgate in an important match in the Men’s Conference West, with the winners taking top spot. Elsewhere, third-placed Sevenoaks are at home against bottom of the table Harleston Magpies.

* The above photograph shows Holcombe's Harry Trusler in action against Surbiton. Credit: www.hockeyimages.co.uk

FIXTURES – Saturday, February 6

Men’s Hockey League

Men’s Premier Division
Holcombe v Wimbledon 18:00
Surbiton v Brooklands Manchester Univ 12:30
Beeston v Reading 14:00
East Grinstead v Cannock 18:00

Men’s Conference West
Indian Gymkhana v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Univ of Exeter v Chichester Priory Park 14:00

Men’s Conference North
Wakefield v Sheffield Hallam 13:30
Olton and West Warwicks v Univ of Durham 13:30

Men’s Conference East
Bromley and Beckenham v Teddington 16:30
Southgate v Richmond 18:00

FIXTURES – Sunday, February 7

Men’s Hockey League

Men’s Premier Division
Hampstead and Westminster v Canterbury 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Cheltenham v Fareham 12:30
Cardiff and Met v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:30
Guildford v Isca 14:00

Men’s Conference North
Loughborough Students v Univ of Durham 14:00
Bowdon v Deeside Ramblers 14:30
Preston v Lichfield 14:00
Doncaster v Olton and West Warwicks 14:00

Men’s Conference East
Oxted v West Herts 12:45
Brighton and Hove v Cambridge City 13:00
Sevenoaks v Harleston Magpies 14:00

Men’s Cup, quarter finals
Sheffield Univ Bankers v Beeston 12:00
Banbury v City of Peterborough 12:30
Chichester Priory Park v Havant 13:30
Univ of Birmingham v Surbiton 14:30