Surbiton test for Clifton Robinsons

Clifton Robinsons Abi Porter, Credit Peter Smith - 450

Clifton Robinsons travel to leaders Surbiton on Saturday as their bid to reach the play-offs in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division reaches a critical stage.

Currently fifth and just outside the play-off positions, Clifton Robinsons will need to beat a Surbiton side who have lost just one league match all season – and hope that other results go in their favour – if they are to book their place at Finals Weekend alongside their opponents.

“There’s a lot riding on this game,” said Clifton Robinson’s captain Aileen Davis. “We’ve got to just focus on getting the three points, and then we will worry about whether we’ve made the play-offs.

“We’ve got to stick to our normal routine in training this week. It was a competitive game between us and Surbiton earlier in the season. We always tend to have quite good battles!”

Elsewhere, Leicester also have a tough away game as they bid to scrape into the play-offs. Currently sixth, they could climb to third if they can win at second-placed Holcombe - who have booked their place at Lee Valley - and other results go in their favour.

East Grinstead will be hoping to hold on to third place as they go to a Bowdon Hightown side who are preparing to fight for top flight survival in the play-offs against the three Investec Conference winners.

And the University of Birmingham similarly will want to hold on to fourth place as they go to Canterbury.

Finally, Slough play host to relegated Reading in the day’s other Premier Division clash.

The race for the title in the Investec Women’s Conference East will be decided on the final day of the season, with leaders Wimbledon going to bottom of the table Northampton Saints while second-placed Sevenoaks travelling to Hampstead and Westminster.

A win or draw for Wimbledon will mean they take the title, but if they lose and Sevenoaks win, the Kent side will go top and head into the promotion play-offs.

Brooklands Poynton entertain Timperley in the Investec Women’s Conference North, knowing that a win will give them the title. However, if they fail to do so, Beeston could snatch top spot with a win at Sutton Coldfield.

And at the other end of the table, there’s a three-way battle to avoid automatic relegation or a play-off to survive between Liverpool Sefton, Timperley and Belper, with Liverpool Sefton hosting Belper on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Buckingham have already won the Investec Women’s Conference West title, but will want to maintain their great form heading into the play-offs, with a win over relegated Bristol Firebrands at home on Saturday.

* The above photo shows Clifton Robinsons’ Abi Porter, Credit Peter Smith

FIXTURES – Saturday, March 25

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Investec Premier Division

Canterbury v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Surbiton v Clifton Robinsons 14:00
Slough v Reading 14:00
Bowdon Hightown v East Grinstead 14:00
Holcombe v Leicester 14:00

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

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

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