Kent derby as Canterbury host Holcombe

Canterbury in defensive action against Clifton. Credit Peter Smith 450

Canterbury are preparing to take on local rivals Holcombe in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, in the mouth-watering first match of a double-header with the men’s teams at Polo Farm on Saturday.

Holcombe suffered their first defeat at home to East Grinstead last weekend, and they will want to get back to winning ways at Canterbury – a win which could put them back at the top of the pile.

But Canterbury will be going all out for the win under the leadership of new Head Coach Ed Welch, who inherited a team which finished second last season.

“Playing Holcombe is always a special match, and form goes out of the window,” said Canterbury Manager Gill Prince. “We’re looking forward to getting a big crowd down for these matches, hopefully they can be the extra player for us.

“Our new coach is doing great work with the squad and we’re feeling really positive about the season ahead.”

In other top-flight action, leaders Surbiton will look to cement their position when they host bottom of the table Reading. Meanwhile East Grinstead, who are second only on goal difference, also have a home match with Bowdon Hightown coming to Saint Hill Road.

Fourth-placed University of Birmingham are also in sight of the top of the table, and they head to Premier Division newcomers Slough on Saturday.

Leicester entertain Clifton Robinsons on Saturday, with either side able to climb into the top four with a win.

Third-placed Harleston Magpies head to fourth-placed Hampstead and Westminster in the Investec Conference East, while leaders Sevenoaks are on the road to Northampton Saints as they aim to make it six wins in a row this season.

Beeston will want to maintain their unbeaten run in the Investec Conference North as they play Ben Rhydding at home on Saturday. Elsewhere second-placed Brooklands Poynton face fourth-placed Wakefield, and the University of Durham are also just two points behind the top of the table. They take on Sutton Coldfield.

Leaders Stourport – who fired seven goals past previously unbeaten Trojans last weekend – will want to continue their free-scoring ways in the Investec Conference West when they go to bottom of the table Bristol Firebrands.

* The above photo shows Canterbury in defensive mode against Clifton earlier this season. Credit: Peter Smith.

FIXTURES – Saturday, October 22

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division
Slough v University of Birmingham 13:00
East Grinstead v Bowdon Hightown 13:30
Leicester v Clifton Robinsons 14:00
Surbiton v Reading 15:30
Canterbury v Holcombe 16:00

Investec Conference East
Southgate v Chelmsford 12:30
Cambridge City v West Herts 12:30
St Albans v Wimbledon 13:00
Hampstead and Westminster v Harleston Magpies 13:30
Northampton Saints v Sevenoaks 14:15

Investec Conference North
University of Durham v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Brooklands Poynton v Wakefield 12:00
Loughborough Students v Timperley 12:30
Belper v Liverpool Sefton 14:00
Beeston v Ben Rhydding 14:00

Investec Conference West
Isca v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Olton and West Warwicks v Swansea City 12:00
Gloucester City v Buckingham 12:30
Bristol Firebrands v Stourport 13:00
Trojans v Exe 14:00

Investec Women’s Cup, Round Two
Boots v Leamington Spa 10:30
Bowdon Hightown v Timperley 14:30
Chelmsford v Hampstead and Westminster 14:00
Clifton Robinsons v Gloucester City 13:00
Maidenhead v West Herts 14:00
Reading v Barnes 14:00
Sevenoaks v Buckingham 12:00
Surbiton v East Grinstead 14:00
Sutton Coldfield v Beeston 14:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Cheltenham 13:00
Trojans v Oxford Hawks 11:30
Tulse Hill and Dulwich v Slough 13:45
University of Birmingham v Stourport 12:30