Buckingham prepared for Holcombe test

Buckingham celebrate a goal during last season's promotion final. Credit Simon Parker - 450
Top flight newcomers Buckingham face high-flying Holcombe on Saturday as they bid to continue their strong start in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Holcombe, last season’s runners-up, will head to Stowe School with a side packed full of talent, but Buckingham will be going all out to repeat the 4-2 victory they secured against Canterbury last weekend.

It has been two years since they were last in the Premier Division but Head Coach Zak Jones thinks his side are stronger and better prepared for the campaign.

“A lot of the girls have played at this level before, but the difference now is that we have a large squad who can play at this level,” he said.

“Two years ago when we were last in the Premier Division there were so many games that we could’ve won but things didn’t go our way. The margins between winning and losing are small, but we feel better able to get victories now.”

With England U21 ace Rebecca van Berkel in their side as well as a trio of Welsh internationals, Buckingham have more depth in the squad.

Jones added: “The Canterbury game was a great end to end match and there wasn’t much between the two sides.

“Holcombe will be a good match, but a tough one. They are a quality side and it’s David versus Goliath really, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re definitely an attacking side, we always try to play a good exciting brand of hockey. As long as we score more goals then the opposition that’s good enough for us.”

Elsewhere reigning champions Surbiton entertain Leicester at Sugden Road, while Slough host Canterbury as they bid to maintain their unbeaten form.

East Grinstead will go to Bowdon Hightown, while on Sunday Clifton Robinsons are at home against the University of Birmingham.

In the Investec Conference North, Beeston have scored 10 goals and conceded none in their first two games and are at home for their third match against University of Durham on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Brooklands Poynton also have a 100 per cent record and will be looking to continue their form when they go to Loughborough Students.

Early leaders Hampstead and Westminster go to Chelmsford in the Investec Conference East, while Sevenoaks have also won both their opening two matches and have a home game against Barnes.

Finally in the Investec Conference West early leaders Stourport head to Cannock on Saturday while Trojans and Reading – who join them on six points at the top of the table - go to Isca and Swansea City respectively.

* The above photo shows Buckingham celebrating a goal during the promotion final at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre last season. Credit: Simon Parker.

FIXTURES
Saturday, October 7 2017

Investec Premier Division
Buckingham v Holcombe 12:00
Slough v Canterbury 12:30
Bowdon v East Grinstead 13:45
Surbiton v Leicester 16:00

Investec Conference North
Beeston v Univ of Durham 12:00
Wakefield v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Ben Rhydding v Liverpool Sefton 13:30
Fylde v Timperley 13:30
Loughborough Students v Brooklands Poynton 16:00

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

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

Sunday, October 8 2017

Investec Premier Division
Clifton Robinsons v Univ of Birmingham 13:00