Clifton Robinsons look to continue good start to the season

Clifton Robinsons in defensive action versus Leicester last weekend. Credit Peter Smith - 450
After securing an emphatic victory over Leicester in their season opener, Clifton Robinsons take on reigning champions Surbiton in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday.

Clifton Robinsons will need to be on top form as they head to Sugden Road to take on a side who lost just once last season on their way to the title.

“They will be gunning for us having dropped two points last weekend,” said Clifton Robinsons team manager Alistair Kilfoil. “But we played really well at their place last season, so hopefully we can do well again and take something from the game.”

A raft of new signings have boosted Clifton Robinsons squad. Following a year in New Zealand and a spell in Scotland last season, Fiona Burnet has rejoined the club and kick-started her tenure with two goals in the opening win against Leicester.

Three Welsh internationals have signed up in Tash Marke-Jones, Sophie Clayton and Lisa Daley, while full-back Liv Hopkisson joins from Beeston and Holly Savage has signed for Clifton after playing at Firebrands in 2016-17.

And three juniors have joined the first XI squad in forward Vicky McCabe, midfielder Ellie Emo and full-back Louisa Bell.

But Clifton Robinsons have lost the services of Louise Laity and Danielle Jordan, while Jo Carter and Jess Bloom are both pregnant and not expected back until at least the new year.

“We had a hard and full-blooded pre-season campaign which really helped,” added Kilfoil. “Because of all the changes in personnel we didn’t really manage to have any decent training sessions where everyone was present until the last week, so we were pleased at how things went against Leicester.”

Elsewhere, Canterbury will be aiming to build on their strong defensive performance against Surbiton last weekend when they go to Buckingham, while Leicester are aiming to bounce back from their defeat to Clifton Robinsons with a home game against East Grinstead.

Holcombe are at home against the University of Birmingham, while Slough are on the road to Bowdon Hightown.

Last season’s champions Brooklands Poynton head to Liverpool Sefton in the Investec Conference North, while Sutton Coldfield – who also won 3-1 last week – are also away, at Timperley.

Last season’s champions Wimbledon lost their opening match to Sevenoaks last weekend, but will be aiming to secure their first points of the season when they go to Cambridge City in the Investec Conference East on Saturday.

And in the Investec Conference West, Olton and West Warwicks face a tough match against last season’s runners-up Stourport, who won five-nil away from home last weekend, while Olton lost at home.

* The attached photo shows Clifton in defensive action against Leicester last weekend. Credit: Peter Smith.

Saturday, September 30 2017

Investec Premier Division
Buckingham v Canterbury 12:00
Leicester v East Grinstead 13:30
Bowdon Hightown v Slough 13:45
Holcombe v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Surbiton v Clifton Robinsons 14:00

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

Investec Conference East
Hampstead & Westminster v Barnes 13:30
Harleston Magpies v St Albans 14:00
Bedford v Chelmsford 14:30
Cambridge City v Wimbledon 15:30
Sevenoaks v Southgate 17:00

Investec Conference West
Gloucester City v Trojans 12:00
Oxford Hawks v Isca 12:00
Swansea City v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:00
Reading v Cannock 13:30
Stourport v Olton & West Warwicks 16:00