Tough trip to Surbiton for mid-table Leicester

Leicester's Sophie Skelton in action against Clifton. Credit Andy Smith - 450

Mid-table Leicester face a tough trip to table-topping Surbiton on Sunday in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Last season’s champions and unbeaten so far this season, Surbiton will prove a tough opponent for Leicester who have three wins from their first seven games, including a 3-1 win over Canterbury last weekend.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Leicester Manager Sue Holwell. “We had a good result against Canterbury last week, but there’s a lot more to come. It has been a disappointing start to the season, but things are coming together.

“We’ve got some new players in this season and a couple of them didn’t arrive until late because they were playing in Australia, and we lost two to the England Under-21s in Spain. With one or two other senior players unavailable because of work, it has been a bit of a difficult start for us.”

Elsewhere, second-placed Holcombe are on the road to Bowdon Hightown on Sunday as they bid to keep the pressure up on Surbiton, while East Grinstead – who leap-frogged the University of Birmingham into third spot when they beat them last Saturday – entertain Slough.

The University of Birmingham will be hoping to bounce back from that loss with a home game against Canterbury, while Clifton Robinsons are hosting bottom of the table Reading, who secured their first points of the season with a draw against Bowdon Hightown last weekend. GB gold medallist Alex Danson, who joined Clifton in the close season, is expected to make her debut against her previous colleagues.

After battling to a win at Chelmsford last weekend, third-placed Harleston Magpies play host to Investec Conference East leaders Sevenoaks on Sunday.

Meanwhile, second-placed Wimbledon are on the road to Southgate as they bid to keep pace with unbeaten Sevenoaks.

Leaders Brooklands Poynton play host to the only unbeaten team in the Investec Conference North, with the University of Durham the visitors to Sale.

Elsewhere, second-placed Beeston have a home game against Liverpool Sefton.

The top two play each other in the Investec Conference West, with leaders Stourport aiming to preserve their unbeaten record against a Buckingham side who are looking to return to the top flight at the first attempt.

And in other action in the West, Olton and West Warwicks – who dropped to third last weekend when they lost to Stourport – will be looking to get back to winning ways when they entertain Trojans.

* The above photo shows Leicester’s Sophie Skelton in action against Clifton Robinsons. Credit Andy Smith.

FIXTURES – Sunday, November 13

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division
Surbiton v Leicester 12:00
Bowdon Hightown v Holcombe 12:30
Univ of Birmingham v Canterbury 12:30
Clifton Robinsons v Reading 13:00
East Grinstead v Slough 14:00

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

Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Univ of Durham 12:00
Ben Rhydding v Loughborough Students 13:30
Timperley v Belper 13:30
Sutton Coldfield v Wakefield 14:00
Beeston v Liverpool Sefton 14:30 

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