Tough weekend for Reading as they chase the Men's Premier Division title

Reading's James Carson challenges for the ball. Credit Simon Parker 480x320

Reading could give their title hopes a big boost as they face two matches against rival teams in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division this weekend.

Currently fourth, they face leaders Surbiton at Sonning Lane on Saturday before travelling to East Grinstead on Sunday. With just five points separating the teams from third to seventh, the race for a play-off spot is reaching a crucial stage.

“It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks for us,” Reading 1st XI manager Tim Hamilton said. “Winning both these games is vital to our ambition to win the league.

“We don’t fear anybody - on our day we can beat any team in the league. And with so many GB and England players being on international duty that suits us as we’re not massively affected.

“For that reason the Surbiton team we play on Saturday will be very different from the team that beat us earlier in the season. They are obviously still a very capable side and will have some quality such as Alan Forsyth, but we will do our homework and are confident we can win.”

Following their match with Reading on Saturday, Surbiton head to Hampstead & Westminster – another team who are desperate for points to boost their bid for the play-offs.

The other top flight games on Sunday see second-placed Beeston host strugglers Sevenoaks, Wimbledon go to Holcombe with both sides still in with a shout of reaching the play-offs, while Brooklands MU are at home against Canterbury.

Two teams targeting promotion, Brighton & Hove play host to Southgate in the Men’s Conference East on Sunday. Separated by just one point, the two sides will be looking to take the points and challenge leaders Oxted who go to Old Loughtonians.

Second-placed Bowdon have two matches this weekend in the Men’s Conference North, which could see them go top of the table. They host the University of Durham on Saturday before going to Doncaster 24 hours later.

Elsewhere, the bottom two play each other with Preston hosting Cannock, while leaders the University of Nottingham play at Deeside Ramblers on Saturday.

In the Men’s Conference West Team Bath Buccaneers could play an important part in the fate of other teams. They go to bottom of the table Clifton Robinsons on Saturday, then host leaders the University of Exeter on Sunday.

* Following last week’s postponements due to weather all games have been rescheduled. The majority of these are on the slip date - 17 March. A small number have been rearranged for this weekend and Havant v Cardiff & Met in the Conference West will be played on Saturday 24 March. To accommodate the rearranged games some matches that had been moved from a Sunday to a Saturday have switched back to Sunday. We are grateful to the great cooperation from clubs with these rearrangements. Full details are below.

* The above photograph shows Reading's James Carson challenging for the ball. Credit Simon Parker.


FIXTURES

Saturday, March 10 2018

Men’s Premier Division
Reading v Surbiton 14:30

Men’s Conference North
Bowdon v Univ of Durham 11:45
Deeside Ramblers v Univ of Nottingham 12:00

Men’s Conference West
Clifton Robinsons v Team Bath Buccaneers 09:30

Sunday, March 11 2018

Men’s Premier Division
Hampstead & Westminster v Surbiton 13:30
Beeston v Sevenoaks 14:00
Brooklands MU v Canterbury 14:00
East Grinstead v Reading 14:00
Holcombe v Wimbledon 14:00

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 13 2018

Men’s Conference East
Oxted v Brighton & Hove 20:00

Thursday, March 15 2018

Men’s Conference East
Southgate v Old Loughtonians 20:30

Saturday, March 17 2018

Men’s Premier Division
Sevenoaks v Wimbledon 13:30
Hampstead & Westminster v Beeston 15:00
Holcombe v Canterbury 18:00
Reading v Brooklands MU 18:00
Surbiton v East Grinstead 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Chichester v Old Georgians 12:00
Cambridge City v Richmond 16:30

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

Men’s Conference West
Univ of Exeter v Olton & West Warwicks 12:00
Fareham v Cardiff & Met 13:30
Havant v Isca 15:30
Univ of Birmingham v Cheltenham 17:00

Sunday, March 18 2018

Men’s Premier Division
Wimbledon v Brooklands MU TBC
Canterbury v East Grinstead 14:00
Sevenoaks v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
Reading v Beeston 14:30

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

Men’s Conference North
Univ of Nottingham v Univ of Durham 12:30
Deeside Ramblers v Preston 13:30
Bowdon v Loughborough Students 14:30
Cannock v Sheffield Hallam 14:30
Leeds v Doncaster 14:30

Men’s Conference West
Univ of Exeter v Cardiff & Met 12:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Isca 12:45
Clifton Robinsons v Cheltenham 13:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Univ of Birmingham 13:00
Havant v Fareham 14:00