PREVIEWS: Men's Hockey League

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The battle for a place in the play-offs continues this weekend with third-placed Beeston heading to fourth-placed Holcombe in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

Beeston secured a narrow one-nil victory when the two sides met back in November, but Holcombe are looking to gain revenge for that loss and have strengthened their team in the winter break.

South African Ross Hetem and Kalyan Jeram from New Zealand have signed up for the Kent outfit, while Matt Symonds returned from injury in time to help the new trio gel during three outdoor friendly fixtures over the last few weeks.

A successful indoor campaign which saw Holcombe just miss out on a place in the semi finals at the Copper Box has left them match fit for the resumption of the outdoor season, although Harry Trusler suffered a broken thumb and will miss the next few games.

“Our first meeting with Beeston this season was a tight match,” said Holcombe’s first team manager Neil Trusler. “Our defence was steadfast and the only goal of the game came towards the end of the first half.

“We had the better chances in the second half but were unable to convert, so we are looking forward to the weekend and hopefully reversing the earlier result. I am sure it will be another close encounter! 

“At this stage of the season we are in a good position to aim for a play-off position and with Beeston only two points ahead, a win this weekend will help our chances of a top four finish.”

Elsewhere, leaders Surbiton are at home on Saturday evening against East Grinstead, who could climb into the play-off spots with a win. And second-placed Hampstead & Westminster entertain Reading who are also hopeful of moving into the all-important fourth place this weekend if other results go in their favour.

The bottom two sides, Sevenoaks and the University of Exeter do battle on Saturday night, while in Sunday’s other top flight match Wimbledon head to Brooklands MU.

Old Georgians will be aiming to preserve their unbeaten run with a trip to strugglers Cambridge City in the Men’s Conference East on Saturday, while second-placed Oxted host Teddington on Sunday.

Leaders Bowdon travel to fourth-placed Sheffield Hallam on Sunday in the Men’s Conference North, while the University of Durham could take top spot if they can win at Preston and Bowdon lose.

And in the Men’s Conference West leaders Olton & West Warwicks are looking to cement their place at the top of the table with two home games this weekend. They play the University of Birmingham on Saturday, and Chichester on Sunday.

Should they slip up, Havant could go top if they can beat Fareham on Sunday.


Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, 16 February 2019)

Men’s Premier Division
Sevenoaks v Univ of Exeter 17:00
Surbiton v East Grinstead 18:00

Men’s Conference East
Cambridge City v Old Georgians 13:30
Brighton & Hove v City of Peterborough 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Univ of Bristol v Oxford Hawks 11:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Univ of Birmingham 12:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Fareham 12:30

Men’s Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Doncaster 13:30
Preston v Leeds 14:00

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, 17 February 2019)

Men’s Premier Division
Brooklands MU v Wimbledon 12:15
Hampstead & Westminster v Reading 14:00
Holcombe v Beeston 14:00

Men’s Conference East
Old Loughtonians v Cambridge City 12:00
Brighton & Hove v Southgate 13:00
City of Peterborough v Canterbury 13:00
Old Georgians v Richmond 14:00
Oxted v Teddington 14:00

Men’s Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Oxford Hawks 12:30
Isca v Univ of Bristol 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Univ of Birmingham 13:00
Fareham v Havant 13:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Chichester 13:30

Men’s Conference North
Univ of Nottingham v Belper 13:00
Sheffield Hallam v Bowdon 13:30
Alderley Edge v Doncaster 14:00
Leeds v Loughborough Students 14:00
Preston v Univ of Durham 14:00