Cannock battling to avoid the drop

Cannock in defensive action against Surbiton. Credit Tim Reder - 450

After beating in-form Brooklands Manchester University last weekend, Cannock have Canterbury in their sights on Sunday in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Now eighth in the table, they battled back from behind to overcome play-off hopefuls Brooklands last Sunday, and will hope to keep their run going with a win over bottom of the league Canterbury, which could lift them to sixth depending on other results.

“We’re playing good hockey and it has given us confidence and belief,” said Cannock Head Coach Mark Moss. “But we just need to make sure that our defence is solid at all times, even if we’re not playing well.

“It was frustrating to concede four goals last weekend, and although we scored six and got the win, ideally we don’t want to be in that position.

“We’ve got three out of the remaining four games at home, and two of them are teams that are around us in the table. Our rivals also have tough run ins, so we feel that our fate is in our own hands.”

Elsewhere, Hampstead and Westminster face a busy and important weekend as they try to move away from relegation danger, with home games against East Grinstead and Reading on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

A four-game losing streak has seen Hampstead drop into the bottom two, but they will hope to display the sort of form which saw them beat Beeston and Brooklands earlier in the season.

Third-placed Surbiton host leaders Holcombe on Saturday evening as they aim to cement their play-off spot, while Holcombe will want the points to hold on to top spot.

In other top flight action last season’s champions Wimbledon go to Beeston on Sunday, while Brooklands Manchester University will want to return to winning ways after the Cannock defeat as they host East Grinstead on Sunday.

Loughborough Students could be crowned the Men’s Conference North winners this Saturday if they can beat Olton and West Warwickshire. Second-placed Bowdon will be hoping their rivals lose and they beat Sheffield Hallam to keep alive their feint hopes of the title.

Similarly, it’s crunch time for Cardiff and Met, who lead the Men’s Conference West and could seal the title if they win both their games this weekend.

They host Indian Gymkhana on Saturday before heading to Cheltenham on Sunday.

But it is much closer in the Men’s Conference West, where Southgate currently top the table by just one points from Richmond and Sevenoaks.

All three are on the road this Sunday, with Southgate going to Cambridge City, Richmond heading to Brighton and Hove and Sevenoaks providing the opposition for West Herts.

* The above photograph shows Cannock in defensive action against Surbiton. Credit Tim Reder

FIXTURES – Saturday, February 27

Men’s Hockey League

Men’s Premier Division
Hampstead and Westminster v East Grinstead 14:00
Surbiton v Holcombe 18:00

Men’s Conference West
Cardiff and Met v Indian Gymkhana 12:30

FIXTURES – Sunday, February 28

Men’s Hockey League

Men’s Premier Division
Cannock v Canterbury 14:00
Beeston v Wimbledon 14:00
Brooklands Manchester University v East Grinstead 14:00
Hampstead and Westminster v Reading 14:00

Men’s Conference West
University of Birmingham v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:30
Isca v Chichester Priory Park 12:30
Cheltenham v Cardiff and Met 12:30
Guildford v Fareham 14:00
Indian Gymkhana v University of Exeter 14:00

Men’s Conference North
Lichfield v Doncaster 13:30
Sheffield Hallam v Bowdon 13:30
Loughborough Students v Olton and West Warwicks 14:00
Preston v Wakefield 14:00
University of Durham v Deeside Ramblers 14:00

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

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