PREVIEWS: Men's Hockey League

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Relegation rivals Wimbledon and the University of Exeter face each other at Raynes Park on Saturday, in a match that could prove vital to both team’s ambitions in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Both teams have found form lately with Wimbledon having won their last two games while the University of Exeter have lost just once since the Winter break.

“Exeter are a good side, they’ve shown this season they can compete and take points off anyone really,” said Wimbledon coach Gareth Hall. “We take them seriously – they gave us a good game before Christmas, so we’ve had to prepare well for this match.

“It has been a tough season for us up to now, but we’ve got a number of players with international experience, but also experience of fighting it out in tough league matches too.”

Reading were beaten by Wimbledon two weeks ago, and they are not yet safe from relegation. They go to East Grinstead for a tough clash on Saturday evening.

At the top of the table, leaders Surbiton host Brooklands MU on Saturday, while second-placed Hampstead & Westminster are in action on Sunday at third-placed Beeston.

The other top flight match this weekend sees Holcombe go to Sevenoaks as they bid to push their way into the top four and the a play-off spot.

Title hopes are also in the balance in the Men’s Conference North, where second-placed University of Durham entertain fourth-placed Sheffield Hallam who both have promotion aspirations.

Lower down the table teams are fighting to stay in the second tier of the sport following the league restructure, and Doncaster go to Leeds on Sunday desperate for a win to boost their bid for a top six finish.

Old Loughtonians are battling to climb into the top six and second Division One hockey for next season, but they face a tough match at home against current Conference East leaders Old Georgians on Sunday.

Meanwhile, second-placed Southgate travel to a Richmond side who are also aiming to climb up the table and towards Division One hockey for next season.

In the Men’s Conference West leaders Havant go to the University of Bristol on Sunday, while the University of Birmingham go to Fareham as they bid to keep pace with Havant.

And in the battle for Division One hockey next season sixth-placed Team Bath Buccaneers entertain Cardiff & Met.

FIXTURES

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, 9 March 2019)

Premier Division
Wimbledon v Univ of Exeter 16:00
Sevenoaks v Holcombe 17:00
East Grinstead v Reading 18:00
Surbiton v Brooklands MU 18:00

Conference North
Loughborough Students v Belper 18:00
Univ of Durham v Sheffield Hallam 18:00

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, 10 March 2019)

Premier Division
Beeston v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00

Conference East
Richmond v Southgate
Brighton & Hove v Oxted 13:00
City of Peterborough v Teddington 13:00
Cambridge City v Canterbury 13:30
Old Loughtonians v Old Georgians 14:00

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

Conference North
Preston v Univ of Nottingham 14:00
Bowdon v Alderley Edge 14:30
Leeds v Doncaster 14:30