Leicester face Birmingham as play-off push continues

Leicester celebrate beating Surbiton. Credit Andy Smith - 450


Having inflicted Surbiton’s first league defeat in over three years last weekend, in-form Leicester will be hoping to further boost their bid for a top four finish when they host the University of Birmingham in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday.

Currently sixth, Leicester could move up to third if they win and other results go in their favour.

“It has been a few years since we’ve been in the play-offs,” said Leicester manager Sue Holwell. “So it would be great to finish in the top four.

“Although we’re sixth at the moment we’ve still got to play both East Grinstead and the University of Birmingham above us, so our fate is very much in our own hands.

“Beating Surbiton was a great result for us, but to be honest we didn’t play particularly well, and we may have to improve if we are to beat Birmingham.”

There is also a crucial match-up at Coombe Dingle, where Clifton Robinsons play host to East Grinstead on Saturday.

Currently third and fourth and separated only by goal difference, both sides will be aiming to take the points and strengthen their bid for a spot at Finals Weekend.

At the other end of the table, Bowdon Hightown are at home against Canterbury, with both sides still in need of points to avoid becoming embroiled in a relegation battle.

While leaders Surbiton are hosting Slough, second-placed Holcombe are also at home against bottom of the table Reading.

The top two clash in the Investec Women’s Conference West, with leaders Stourport at home against Buckingham, who are second only on goal difference.

The result of the match-up could prove crucial to both side’s title ambitions. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table bottom club Exe host eighth-placed Oxford Hawks as they both battle the drop.

Sevenoaks are preparing to play Chelmsford in the Investec Women’s Conference East, and are desperate for points to keep the pressure on leaders Wimbledon who entertain Southgate.

In the Investec Conference North, Beeston are second and will be going all out for a win at third-placed Ben Rhydding, while leaders Brooklands Poynton go to Wakefield.

And at the other end of the table, bottom club Belper host second-bottom Timperley, with both sides battling to avoid relegation danger.

* The above photo shows Leicester celebrating their win over Surbiton last weekend. Credit: Andy Smith.

FIXTURES – Saturday, March 4

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division
Clifton Robinsons v East Grinstead 13:00
Bowdon Hightown v Canterbury 13:45
Leicester v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Surbiton v Slough 18:00
Holcombe v Reading 18:00

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

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

Investec Conference West
Swansea City v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Isca 12:00
Exe v Oxford Hawks 13:00
Trojans v Gloucester City 13:30
Stourport v Buckingham 18:00