Beeston hoping for home advantage boost

Beeston's Mark Gleghorne, who the club hope to have back for this weekend. Credit Tim Reder - 450

With three home games in their last four, Beeston are hoping that home advantage will prove vital in their push to secure a top four finish in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

But with Surbiton the visitors this Sunday, they will need to be on top form to maintain their campaign to make it to the Finals Weekend.

“Having three home games is a big factor,” said Beeston Team Manager Graham Griffiths. “This is not an easy place to come to, we regularly get crowds of 200-300 who love their hockey and can give us an edge.”

With Ollie Willars and James Albery on international duty in South Africa, Beeston are hoping that the return of Mark Gleghorne from the Hockey India League can give them a boost, and Griffiths added: “If he’s fit and raring to go it will give us an edge, but we won’t know that until nearer the time.

“We’ve got a few injury niggles, but we’re in good spirits and will be doing our best over the last few weeks to get into the play-offs. We’re not bothered whether we finish second, third or fourth – we just want to get across the line and make it to the play-offs.”

Elsewhere, Hampstead and Westminster host East Grinstead on Sunday, in another match-up between two sides aiming for the play-offs.

Leaders Wimbledon have a home game against Reading, another side still in with a chance of being in the top four at the end of the 18-match programme.

Second-placed Holcombe will want to maintain that spot as they play Brooklands Manchester University on Sunday, while on Saturday evening Loughborough Students are at home against fellow relegation-threatened side Canterbury in a match neither can realistically afford to lose.

The University of Durham could wrap up the Men’s Conference North title with a home win against Preston on Sunday, while Olton and West Warwicks faint hopes rely on their rivals losing and Olton winning at Sheffield Hallam.

Meanwhile, Oxton head to Cannock with both teams desperate for points to avoid relegation.

The battle for top spot in the Men’s Conference East continues to be close. Leaders Teddington go to bottom of the table Wapping on Saturday evening, while Sevenoaks – who are only second on goal difference – play at home against Cambridge City on Sunday.

Cardiff and Met will be aiming to maintain their unbeaten record when they go to the University of Birmingham on Sunday. Meanwhile second-placed Team Bath Buccaneers play at home against Isca, and will be hoping to close the gap on leaders Cardiff.

* The above photograph shows Beeston’s Mark Gleghorne, who the club hope to see return to action this weekend. Credit: Tim Reder.

FIXTURES - Saturday, March 4

Men’s Hockey League

Men’s Premier Division
Loughborough Students v Canterbury 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Wapping v Teddington 17:30

Sunday, March 5

Men’s Premier Division
Hampstead & Westminster v East Grinstead 14:00
Beeston v Surbiton 14:00
Wimbledon v Reading 14:00
Holcombe v Brooklands MU 14:00

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

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

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