Bowdon Hightown head to Leicester on Saturday as their bid to avoid the drop reaches what could be a critical point in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Currently ninth, Bowdon must climb above Slough who are four points above them if they are to avoid having to go through the play-offs to preserve their top flight status.
Meanwhile, Leicester are four points adrift of the top four and will be going all out for the win to boost their hopes of reaching Finals Weekend.
Bowdon’s only league victory this season was a 2-0 win over Leicester earlier in the season, but it was a match Leicester feel they should’ve won.
“We dominated the game at Bowdon,” said Leicester Team Manager Sue Holwell. “But in the last ten minutes we hit the self-destruct button, so we owe them one for that.
“We’ve had a good run of results recently so we’re confident about this weekend, even though Bowdon are a bogey team for us.”
And Bowdon Hightown chairman Carl Tennant said: “We’re very much up for this game. As a team we’ve been fighting really well and performing well, but just not getting the results we deserved.
“Looking at the results Leicester have been up and down a bit recently, so the pressure is really on them.”
Elsewhere, Clifton Robinsons are also hoping to scrape into the top four and will need a win over Slough – and other teams to lose - to keep their hopes alive.
The University of Birmingham currently occupy fourth place and will want to hold on to that position. They entertain second-placed Holcombe in what could be a practice run for their semi finals clash.
East Grinstead have a home game against Canterbury as they bid to stay in the top four, while leaders Surbiton go to bottom of the league Reading.
Leaders Wimbledon face third-placed Hampstead and Westminster in the Investec Women’s Conference East, and could wrap up the title depending on how second-placed Sevenoaks fare in their home clash with fourth-placed Harleston Magpies.
At the other end of the table, bottom club Northampton Saints go to St Albans, and ninth-placed West Herts play Cambridge City with both all but mathematically assured to remain in those positions.
Brooklands Poynton could secure their place in the promotion play-offs – and the Investec Conference North title – if they can avoid defeat at second-placed Beeston on Saturday.
Meanwhile, it’s tight at the foot of the Conference North. Bottom club Belper host Sutton Coldfield as they look for a win to move off the bottom, while Timperley and Liverpool Sefton play the University of Durham and Loughborough Students respectively as they try to avoid the relegation play-offs.
And in the Investec Conference West, Buckingham head to Oxford Hawks for their penultimate game of the regular season, knowing that a win could give them the title.
Second-placed Stourport, who trail Buckingham by three points, go to Gloucester City as they bid to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Bottom club Bristol Firebrands host Trojans on Sunday as they aim to avoid automatic relegation, while Exe host local rivals Isca University in their battle against the drop.
* The above photo shows Lily Wolstenholme of Bowdon Hightown in action against Surbiton. Credit: Tim Reder.
FIXTURES – Saturday, March 18
Investec Women’s Hockey League
Investec Premier Division
Univ of Birmingham v Holcombe 12:30
Clifton Robinsons v Slough 13:00
Leicester v Bowdon Hightown 14:00
East Grinstead v Canterbury 16:00
Reading v Surbiton 16:30
Investec Conference East
Sevenoaks v Harleston Magpies 12:00
St Albans v Northampton Saints 13:00
Wimbledon v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
Chelmsford v Southgate 14:00
West Herts v Cambridge City 14:00
Investec Conference North
Belper v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Loughborough Students v Liverpool Sefton 12:30
Timperley v Univ of Durham 12:40
Ben Rhydding v Wakefield 13:30
Beeston v Brooklands Poynton 14:00
Investec Conference West
Swansea City v Olton & West Warwicks 12:00
Gloucester City v Stourport 12:00
Oxford Hawks v Buckingham 12:00
Exe v Isca 13:00
Sunday, March 19
Investec Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Trojans 13:00