Brooklands MU prepare for Beeston challenge

Brooklands MU and England U21 player James Sutcliffe. Credit Sara Flanagan. - 480x320
It is the last round of games before the mid season break this weekend and teams will be without those England players who are travelling to India for the World League finals at the beginning of December.

Brooklands MU helped Beeston go top of the table when they held former leaders Surbiton to a dramatic draw last weekend and the two sides will now meet each other on Sunday in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Hosts Beeston will be aiming to hold on to the lead with an eighth victory in ten matches while Brooklands MU – who are eighth in the table with just two wins so far – want to get a victory under their belts prior to the winter break.

“The underdog mentality helped us against Surbiton,” said Brookland’s first team manager Paul Gannon. “Before the game we would’ve taken a point, but we feel we dominated the game and it was bitter-sweet when we conceded in the last minute.”

Prior to the Surbiton draw Brooklands MU had lost five times and Gannon added: “It has been a typical Brooklands season really; we feel we’ve been better than some of our opponents, but we haven’t been able to convert the chances we’ve created.

“Playing at Beeston is always tough for us but we have some great games, and we’re good friends with them as the two northern teams. But we won’t be taking anything for granted as although they have some players away they have a lot of quality in their squad.”

Elsewhere, former leaders and reigning champions Surbiton play host to former title winners Wimbledon on Saturday night as they bid to re-take top spot from Beeston, while in other top flight action Hampstead & Westminster head to East Grinstead.

Fourth-placed Reading have an away match at Holcombe. With the two teams level on league points with five wins each, the clash could prove crucial to both side’s play-off ambitions.

Meanwhile the bottom two play each other in a local derby, with Sevenoaks at home against fellow Kent side Canterbury.

The top two teams play each other in the Men’s Conference North, with leaders Bowdon – who struggled to beat Cannock last weekend – hosting the University of Nottingham.

The Conference North table is very close and third-placed University of Durham take on fourth-placed Loughborough Students with either side able to go top if Bowdon and the University of Nottingham draw.

There could be a new leader in the Men’s Conference East table too. Second-placed Oxted head to third-placed Southgate, with either of those two sides able to go top of the table if leaders Cambridge City lose to visitors Old Loughtonians.

Men’s Conference West leaders the University of Exeter play host to third-placed University of Birmingham in the Men’s Conference West as they look to extend their six-point lead at the top of the table. Meanwhile, second-placed Cardiff & Met are at home against strugglers Clifton Robinsons.

* The above photograph shows Brooklands MU and England U21 player James Sutcliffe. Credit: Sara Flanagan.

Saturday, November 25 2017

Men’s Premier Division
Sevenoaks v Canterbury 17:00
East Grinstead v Hampstead & Westminster 18:00
Holcombe v Reading 18:00
Surbiton v Wimbledon 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Richmond v Chichester 18:00

Sunday, November 26 2017

Men’s Premier Division
Beeston v Brooklands MU 14:00

Men’s Conference North
Univ of Durham v Loughborough Students 13:00
Deeside Ramblers v Cannock 13:30
Sheffield Hallam v Doncaster 13:30
Bowdon v Univ of Nottingham 14:30
Leeds v Preston 14:30

Men’s Conference East
Cambridge City v Old Loughtonians 12:30
Brighton & Hove v Teddington 13:00
West Herts v Old Georgians 14:00
Southgate v Oxted 14:30

Men’s Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Clifton Robinsons 12:30
Cheltenham v Isca 12:30
Univ of Exeter v Univ of Birmingham 12:30
Fareham v Olton & West Warwicks 13:30
Havant v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:00