Double-headers make for crucial weekend

Beeston celebrate a goal. Credit David Kissman 480x320


New Premier Division leaders Beeston face a crucial double-header weekend as they take on play-off rivals Hampstead & Westminster and Reading in the Men’s Hockey League.

Having taken over at the top of the table following last weekend’s win over Sevenoaks, Beeston are two points clear and have a game in hand over second-placed Surbiton.

On Sunday they face an in-form Reading outfit which beat both Surbiton and East Grinstead last weekend, while Saturday’s match at Hampstead and Westminster is also a tough clash.

“It’s the business end of the season for everyone - we’ve said all season that it’s going to come down to the wire, and it looks like that’s the way it’s going to be!” said Beeston chairman and 1st XI manager Graham Griffiths.

“At the moment we’re like a three-legged giraffe; we’re wobbling all over the place but we can see where we’re going and we’re nearly there!

“We’ve got players out with injury, our internationals are getting ready for the Commonwealth Games, and we’re just taking things one day at a time.

“We always just tick along one day at a time – there’s no point looking long term when you have so many students in the team. They have some incredible talent, but you never know who’s going to be available and who’s not.”

Elsewhere, Surbiton will be aiming to get back to winning ways with a home match against East Grinstead moved to Friday evening with an 8pm push back, while Reading also have a double header weekend which starts with a match against Brooklands MU on Saturday.

It is a double-header weekend for most teams following the postponements a fortnight ago. Following their clash with Beeston on Saturday, Hampstead & Westminster go to Sevenoaks on Sunday.

And East Grinstead travel to Canterbury on Sunday hoping for a six-point haul from the weekend following Saturday’s match.

Sevenoaks host Wimbledon on Saturday, while Kent rivals Holcombe and Canterbury do battle that evening. Wimbledon will then take on Brooklands MU on Sunday.

The top two play each other in the Men’s Conference North, with leaders the University of Nottingham hosting the University of Durham on Sunday. Nottingham will have played their game in hand 24 hours earlier at home against Preston.

And at the other end of the table Cannock are at home against relegation rivals Leeds.

It is a similar situation in the Men’s Conference West, with leaders the University of Exeter hosting second-placed Cardiff & Met on Sunday in a game that will have a huge bearing on the title race. Both are also in action on Saturday, with Exeter hosting Olton & West Warwicks while Cardiff & Met go to Fareham.

In the Men’s Conference East, leaders Oxted will be aiming to wrap up the title when they play at Chichester on Sunday. Two of their nearest rivals, Teddington and Southgate, meet at Trent Park that day hoping Oxted will drop points to keep their title hopes alive.

And in a crucial clash for both teams’ hopes of avoiding the relegation play-offs, Old Georgians play Old Loughtonians.

* With an almost full set of matches in both Divisions needing to be rearranged after the bad weather on 3 March, England Hockey is very grateful for the support from clubs and officials to assist with this, particularly Colin Barthorpe, Umpire Coordinator for the NPUA.

* The above photograph shows Beeston’s Mark Gleghorne celebrating a goal. Credit: David Kissman.

FIXTURES

Thursday, March 15 2018

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

Friday, March 16 2018

Men’s Premier Division
Surbiton v East Grinstead 20:00

Saturday, March 17 2018 

Men’s Premier Division
Sevenoaks v Wimbledon 13:30
Hampstead & Westminster v Beeston 15:00
Reading v Brooklands MU 16:30
Holcombe v Canterbury 18:00

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

Men’s Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Deeside Ramblers 13:30
Cannock v Leeds 14:30
Loughborough Students v Doncaster 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