PREVIEWS: Men's Hockey League

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With Premier Division survival secured last weekend, Brooklands MU head to Holcombe on Sunday in search of points as they target a play-off spot in the final two weekends of the Men’s Hockey League season.

A change of head coach at Christmas caused Brooklands to reassess their season goals and focus on survival, but with that in the bag after last weekend’s win over Sevenoaks they aim to enjoy the final two matches.

“Holcombe has always been a tough place for us to go and I’m sure Sunday will be no different,” said Paul Gannon, who took over as head coach after Mark Bateman stepped down. “After a difficult few weeks we bounced back well last week, I’ll be hoping for the same on Sunday.

“We will enjoy the next two games, we’ve achieved what we set out to do and if we pick up anymore points that will be a bonus.”

Brooklands MU lost out 3-1 to Holcombe on the opening day of the season, but Gannon said: “We have improved since the start of the season.

“Over the past couple of weeks our defending has let us down, conceding 11 goals against Surbiton and Sevenoaks. If we stand a chance of upsetting Holcombe we will have to defend far better.”

With Brooklands MU sixth and Holcombe fifth, both will be targeting a play-off spot which would entail East Grinstead slipping up. They go to Hampstead & Westminster on Sunday.

Elsewhere leaders Surbiton could clinch a Eurohockey League spot for next season if they can take a point from their match at home against relegated Sevenoaks to guarantee top spot in the end of season table.

In other top flight action Beeston’s play-off spot is not yet guaranteed, and they host Wimbledon as they look to reach the play-offs. And the University of Exeter play host to Reading who could also scrape into the play-offs if other results go their way.

The battle for Division One hockey next season is hotting up in the Conference East, with all teams still in the mix in a close division behind champions Old Georgians.

City of Peterborough entertain Old Loughtonians with both teams targeting a place in the top six and tier two hockey next season, while Brighton and Hove go to second-placed Canterbury.

Leaders Havant entertain Chichester on Sunday in the Conference West, and could wrap up the title if they win. Meanwhile, second-placed Olton & West Warwicks go to Cardiff & Met.

Elsewhere, Oxford Hawks are hosting the University of Birmingham with both teams aiming for Division One hockey after the restructure.

And in the Conference North, it’s first versus second as Bowdon host the University of Durham who need to keep their faint hopes of catching the Cheshire side alive.

FIXTURES

 

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, 24 March 2019)

Premier Division
Univ of Exeter v Reading 12:30
Hampstead & Westminster v East Grinstead 13:30
Beeston v Wimbledon 14:00
Holcombe v Brooklands MU 14:00
Surbiton v Sevenoaks 14:00

Men’s Conference East
Canterbury v Brighton & Hove 12:45
City of Peterborough v Old Loughtonians 13:00
Richmond v Oxted 13:30
Teddington v Cambridge City 13:30
Southgate v Old Georgians 14:30

Men’s Conference West
Cardiff & Met v Olton & West Warwicks 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Isca 13:00
Univ of Bristol v Fareham 13:30
Havant v Chichester 14:00
Oxford Hawks v Univ of Birmingham 14:00

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