Drama at both ends of the table in final weekend of top flight action

Clifton Robinsons in action against East Grinstead earlier in the season. Credit Andy Smith 480x320


Clifton Robinsons face two tough games on the final weekend of the regular season as they battle to avoid a relegation scrap in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

With most teams facing a double header this weekend because of postponements, there is much to play for at both ends of the table.

But second-bottom Clifton Robinsons face a battle at play-off chasing East Grinstead on Saturday before a potentially crucial match at bottom of the table Leicester on Sunday.

Without a win since October, the Bristol side will need to be on top form to take anything from their battle against the Sussex outfit. But victory at Leicester is more possible, with the Midlands side also not having won since October.

With the two teams above them - Slough and Canterbury - just two points away, both Clifton Robinsons and Leicester could climb away from the threat of relegation.

Elsewhere, Leicester will start their weekend fixtures with a trip to Bowdon Hightown on Saturday, while Slough’s battle to avoid the drop sees them go to Canterbury on Saturday and the University of Birmingham on Sunday.

Currently fourth but without a win in their last three matches, the University of Birmingham entertain Holcombe on Saturday before the Slough clash 24 hours later.

Surbiton lead the way and need a point from their game at Buckingham to secure top spot and a place in Europe next season. A loss however Holcombe could catch them with big wins against University of Birmingham and Canterbury.

Buckingham are fifth and could still overhaul the University of Birmingham for the last play-off berth. After playing Surbiton on Saturday, they entertain Bowdon Hightown on Sunday.

In the Investec Women’s Conference East, leaders Hampstead & Westminster will be looking to seal the title this weekend as they entertain bottom of the table Chelmsford on Saturday and second-placed Sevenoaks on Sunday.

Chelmsford are already down but the battle to avoid the relegation play-offs may go to 7 April as the other teams involved have games postponed till then.

The battle for the title in the Investec Women’s Conference West is still wide open with four teams in the mix.

Current leaders Trojans play their final match at home against bottom of the table Team Bath Buccaneers on Saturday, while second-placed Stourport have two games left and go to Olton & West Warwicks on Saturday before a home game against Team Bath Buccaneers on Sunday.

Third-placed Reading could also snatch the title if they win and others lose. They play Swansea – currently fourth - on Saturday, after the Welsh side dropped out of the title race with a loss at Gloucester City on Thursday evening. Elsewhere, Reading go to Cannock on Sunday, the home side needing to make up a three-point deficit on Oxford Hawks to avoid the relegation play-offs, while both teams play twice this weekend.

And Investec Women’s Conference North champions Beeston will be aiming to complete a perfect season with an 18th league win in their final match against Brooklands-Poynton on Saturday.

Bottom of the table Liverpool need to win at Wakefield on Saturday to go above them on goal difference with both teams also in action on Sunday, while Wakefield entertain Brooklands Poynton, while Liverpool go to Loughborough.

* The above photo shows Clifton Robinsons in action against East Grinstead earlier in the season. Credit Andy Smith.

 

FIXTURES

Saturday, March 24 2018

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

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

Investec Conference North
Beeston v Brooklands-Poynton 14:00
Ben Rhydding v Univ of Durham 14:00
Fylde v Sutton Coldfield 14:00
Timperley v Loughborough Students 14:00
Wakefield v Liverpool Sefton 14:00

Investec Conference West
Gloucester City v Cannock 14:00
Isca v Oxford Hawks 14:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Stourport 14:00
Reading v Swansea City 14:00
Trojans v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:00

Sunday, March 25 2018

Investec Premier Division
Univ of Birmingham v Slough 12:00
Buckingham v Bowdon Hightown 13:00
Leicester v Clifton Robinsons 13:00
Holcombe v Canterbury 15:00

Investec Conference East
Cambridge City v Barnes 12:30
Southgate v Harleston Magpies 12:30
Hampstead & Westminster v Sevenoaks 13:30
Bedford v Wimbledon 14:00
St Albans v Chelmsford 14:00

Investec Conference North
Loughborough Students v Liverpool Sefton 12:30
Sutton Coldfield v Univ of Durham 12:30
Wakefield v Brooklands-Poynton 12:30

Investec Conference West
Cannock v Reading 12:00
Olton & West Warwicks v Oxford Hawks 14:15
Stourport v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:15