PREVIEWS: Men's Hockey League

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Last season’s champions Surbiton head to Beeston on Saturday, aiming to secure a win and take the lead in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

With just one draw blemishing an otherwise 100% record, Surbiton have battled through the challenges of having several international players absent for key matches and are just two points behind current leaders Hampstead & Westminster.

“It was always going to be a challenge with the availability of international players coming in and out of the squad,” said Surbiton’s first XI manager Matt Jones. “But we’ve coped pretty well despite having to make some pretty radical changes to the look of the side.

“The only blip was the draw with the University of Exeter, when ironically we had all our internationals available! But I think it gave us the kick up the derriere that we needed because we’ve gone on to get three solid wins.

“Nottingham is never an easy place to go to and we will have to stay on our mettle. We’ve got a particularly difficult three-game run, so we need to be on our game.”

The match at Nottingham is part of Beeston’s Oktoberfest, which sees their respective women’s teams play each other at 4pm, with a promise of hockey, sausages and beer!

Elsewhere in the top flight, leaders Hampstead & Westminster have a tough home match against third-placed Holcombe who will want to get back to winning ways following a narrow defeat to East Grinstead last weekend.

East Grinstead take on bottom of the table Sevenoaks as they aim to build on that victory over Holcombe, while Reading will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s loss at Surbiton when they host Wimbledon.

And Sunday’s only top-flight match sees the University of Exeter at home against Brooklands MU. With both teams only having earned a point to date this is a key game in the relegation zone.

Leaders Old Georgians go to bottom of the table Richmond in the Men’s Conference East, while second-placed Brighton & Hove are also on the road, playing at the City of Peterborough on Sunday.

Unbeaten Bowdon play host to Sheffield Hallam in the Men’s Conference North, while the University of Durham are second and head to Leeds on Saturday. A victory there will see them go top of the table for at least 24 hours.

Leaders the University of Birmingham travel to University of Bristol in the Men’s Conference West for a Friday evening game, while Oxford Hawks host Cardiff & Met with both teams having identical records and just one defeat so far this season.

FIXTURES

Men’s Hockey League

Friday, 26 October 2018

Men’s Conference West
Univ of Bristol v Univ of Birmingham 19:45

Saturday, 27 October 2018

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

Men’s Conference East
Old Loughtonians v Canterbury 17:00
Cambridge City v Southgate 17:00

Men’s Conference North
Leeds v Univ of Durham 16:00

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Men’s Premier Division
Univ of Exeter v Brooklands MU 12:30

Men’s Conference East
City of Peterborough v Brighton & Hove 13:30
Richmond v Old Georgians 13:30
Teddington v Oxted 13:30

Men’s Conference North
Belper v Preston 14:00
Loughborough Students v Doncaster 14:00
Alderley Edge v Univ of Nottingham 14:00
Bowdon v Sheffield Hallam 14:30

Men’s Conference West
Chichester v Havant 13:00
Fareham v Isca 13:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Team Bath Buccaneers 13:30
Oxford Hawks v Cardiff & Met 14:00