Play-off rivals ready to face off

Clifton's Caitlin Jefferies makes a save against univ of Birmingham. Credit Peter Smith - 450


Clifton are preparing to take on Canterbury in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, as the season reaches a crucial point for many teams' hopes of reaching the play-offs.

Currently fifth, Clifton have beat leaders the University of Birmingham in the Investec Cup, before losing out to the same opponent in a six-goal thriller last weekend.

“We’ve been playing some good hockey over the last few weeks, and now we’re getting into the last few games of the season it’s all about getting the results we need,” said Clifton captain Aileen Davis.

“The next couple of matches we’re playing teams in second and third, but there are no easy games in this league and we focus on one match at a time.

“We’re in good shape, and although there are one or two niggles in the squad, most teams have injuries at this time of the season.”

Undefeated Surbiton are keen to close the four-point gap the University of Birmingham have established at the top, but won’t have it easy as they take on East Grinstead who themselves are looking to cement a play-off spot.

The University of Birmingham host eight-placed Reading and will be hoping to keep the form that saw them score four goals against Clifton last weekend.

Buckingham will be looking to chalk up their second win of the season against Holcombe and are just one point away from Bowdon Hightown at the bottom of the league. Bowdon will play Leicester, who beat Buckingham 2-0 last time out.

Leaders Slough will clinch the title if they win or draw in the Investec Conference East as they travel to sixth-placed Hampstead and Westminster.

Wimbledon have to keep winning and hope that Slough suffer a drop in form. They face St Albans. At the bottom, Ipswich are still searching for their first win and travel to Harleston Magpies.

It’s second against third in the Investec Conference North as Brooklands Poynton host Beeston. Brooklands only have a two-point lead over their opponents so a tight game is expected. If they win and Wakefield lost to Belper, they could go top. If Whitley Bay and Tynemouth beat Liverpool Sefton they could leapfrog their opponents and climb out of the bottom two.

Sutton Coldfield lead the Investec Conference West by just a single point and have to keep winning if they are to keep Stourport at bay. They both play teams in the bottom half of the table with Sutton Coldfield playing Isca and Stourport facing Olton and West Warwicks.

* The above photo shows Clifton's Caitlin Jefferies making a save against the University of Birmingham. Credit Peter Smith

FIXTURES – Saturday, February 27

Investec Women’s Premier Division
Canterbury v Clifton 11:45
Buckingham v Holcombe 12:00
University of Birmingham v Reading 12:30
East Grinstead v Surbiton 13:30
Bowdon Hightown v Leicester 13:45

Investec Women’s Conference East
Hampstead and Westminster v Slough 12:00
Sevenoaks v Chelmsford 12:00
Maidenhead v Cambridge City 13:30
Wimbledon v St Albans 14:00
Harleston Magpies v Ipswich 14:00

Investec Women’s Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Beeston 11:45
University of Durham v Loughborough Students 12:00
Whitley Bay and Tynemouth v Liverpool Sefton 12:30
Wakefield v Belper 13:30
Springfields v Ben Rhydding 14:00

Investec Women’s Conference West
Oxford Hawks v Swansea City 12:00
Trojans v Gloucester City 12:00
Isca v Sutton Coldfield 12:30
University of Bristol v Bristol Firebrands 13:00
Stourport v Olton and West Warwicks 14:30

All the latest news and results via www.englandhockey.co.uk

League Finals weekend now on sale

The next big event in the club calendar is the League Finals Weekend on the 16th and 17th April – this year the Men’s and Investec Women’s Hockey Leagues Finals and playoffs are combined into one action-packed weekend at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre so drama is guaranteed!

League Finals Weekend tickets are on sale now www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets . Knockout Finals tickets will also go on sale soon on this page.