Holcombe face Surbiton in great season opener

Holcombe's Dan Fox. Photo Simon Parker - 450

Holcombe play host to Surbiton on Saturday evening as the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division gets off to a great start.

With at least three of their Rio Olympic stars available for selection Holcombe – who did not lose a league match in the regular season last term - are hoping they can repeat the 3-1 win they secured over Surbiton last November.

“We have some of our GB players available, some not, but we’ve had a good pre-season so we should hit the ground running,” said Holcombe president and first team manager Keith Martin.

George Pinner, Dan Fox and Sam Ward are all available, while Ashley Jackson is doubtful but may still come into the squad in time for selection.

Also available is South African international Jonty Robinson who has signed from Southgate, but Brazilian international Stephane Vehrle-Smith has left the club and Nick Catlin has signed for East Grinstead.

Surbiton will take a new-look team to Holcombe, both on and off the field.

The new management team of head coach Mark Pearn and Matt Jones have brought in a host of exciting talent with a broad range of international experience.

Goalkeeper Harry Gibson has joined from Hampstead and Westminster, Rob Farrington and Arjan Drayton Chana have moved from Cannock, Liam Ansell has signed up from Den Bosch in Holland, while former Harvestehuder players David Goodfield and Brendan Creed are now at Surbiton

“Playing Holcombe first match is a fantastic opportunity to benchmark where we are,” said Matt Jones. “We’ve got the looks of a promising outfit, we just need to deliver now. Winning in pre-season is great, but we need to prove ourselves on the big stage.”

The other four top flight matches are on Sunday, with champions Wimbledon playing host to Brooklands Manchester University.

The team they beat in the final back in April, Reading head to East Grinstead, while Canterbury – who narrowly avoided relegation last season – are on the road to Hampstead and Westminster.

Finally, top flight newcomers Loughborough Students are at home with Beeston providing the opposition.

Relegated Cannock begin lift in the Men’s Conference North with a home game against the University of Durham, while last season’s runners-up Bowdon go to Doncaster on Sunday.

Last season’s Conference West winners Cardiff and Met head to runners-up Team Bath Buccaneers on Sunday, while Conference East champions Richmond begin with an away game, at Indian Gymkhana.

* The above photograph shows Holcombe’s Dan Fox in action against Wimbledon at the Finals Weekend last season. Credit: Simon Parker.

* For full details of all pre-season player movements see http://www.englandhockey.co.uk/fl/ehl/playermovement_m.asp?l=1


FIXTURES – Saturday, September 17

Men’s Premier Division
Holcombe v Surbiton 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Indian Gymkhana v Richmond 16:30
Sevenoaks v Wapping 17:00

Men’s Conference North
Cannock v Univ of Durham 12:00
Olton and West Warwicks v Leek 16:30

Men’s Conference West
Isca v Univ of Bristol 14:00

FIXTURES – Sunday, September 18

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

Men’s Conference East
Brighton and Hove v Southgate 13:00
West Herts v Oxted 14:00
Teddington v Cambridge City 14:30

Men’s Conference North
Deeside Ramblers v Oxton 13:30
Doncaster v Bowdon 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Cheltenham v Chichester 12:30
Univ of Birmingham v Univ of Exeter 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Cardiff and Met 13:00
Old Georgians v Fareham 11:45