Hampstead and Westminster prepare for battle with Beeston

Hampstead and Westminster's Will Calnan in action. Credit Tim Reder - 450


The battle for a spot in the top four gathers pace this weekend with Hampstead and Westminster playing host to rivals Beeston in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

Beeston’s win over Loughborough Students helped them overtake Hampstead into fourth spot last weekend, but the London club get an immediate chance to take it back when they do battle.

“It’s a pretty big game for both teams,” said Hampstead and Westminster captain Toby Roche. “It’s a great opportunity for us to jump them again, after our slip up at the weekend.”

Hampstead and Westminster lost out by a single goal to Beeston earlier in the season, and Roche added: “We were disappointed to lose to them back in November. We had lots of chances but we couldn’t find the back of the net.

“They defended well and took their chances, so we want to get one back on them – and we’re looking forward to it.”

Elsewhere, second-placed Holcombe head to third-placed Surbiton and will be looking for a repeat of the 3-2 win they secured earlier in the season.

Strugglers Canterbury – who are ninth with just one win to their name so far – are at home against Reading who need to start picking up points if they are to avoid a relegation scrap. They also face Surbiton on Sunday, a game rearranged after last weekend’s postponement.

Bottom of the table Loughborough Students host East Grinstead as they continue their battle to climb out of the basement, while Brooklands MU have a tough task as they play leaders Wimbledon at home.

The Men’s Conference East title race continues to be close, with five teams separated by just four points.

Second-placed Teddington have a great chance to take the lead in the Men’s Conference East when they play host to bottom club Indian Gymkhana on Sunday.

Sevenoaks will want to secure a good win at Brighton and Hove to hold on to first place. Meanwhile, Southgate entertain West Herts and will be looking to hold on to third spot. Cambridge City, who visit Wapping on Saturday evening, and Richmond, who host Oxted, also need wins to keep their title hopes alive.

It’s top versus bottom in the Men’s Conference North, with the University of Durham playing Leek at Maiden Castle and looking to make it 13 out of 13 this season.

Elsewhere, second-placed Bowdon go to mid-table Deeside Ramblers, while Cannock are hosting Sheffield Hallam with both teams in danger of relegation.

Without a win since October, the University of Bristol host second-placed Team Bath Buccaneers in the Men’s Conference West on Sunday. A win for the University could see them move off the bottom of the table, while Buccaneers will want the points to maintain their push for promotion.

And top of the table Cardiff and Met – who didn’t play outdoors last week as they were playing in the EuroHockey indoor competition – resume their league campaign with a home game against Old Georgians.

* The above photograph shows Hampstead and Westminster's Will Calnan in action. Credit Tim Reder.


FIXTURES

Saturday, February 18

Men’s Premier Division
Canterbury v Reading 18:00
Surbiton v Holcombe 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Wapping v Cambridge City 17:30

Sunday, February 19

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

Men’s Conference East
Brighton and Hove v Sevenoaks 13:00
Teddington v Indian Gymkhana 13:30
Richmond v Oxted 14:00
Southgate v West Herts 14:30

Men’s Conference North
Olton and West Warwicks v Doncaster 13:30
Deeside Ramblers v Bowdon 13:30
Univ of Durham v Leek 14:00
Cannock v Sheffield Hallam 14:00
Oxton v Preston 14:30

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