PREVIEW: Investec Women's Hockey League

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After battling to a dramatic 4-4 draw at second-placed Hampstead & Westminster last weekend, East Grinstead host the University of Birmingham this Saturday as they search for their first win of the season in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

Third in the final table last season, East Grinstead have had a tough start to the 2019-20 season with four of their first five matches having been against teams in the top five.

But last weekend’s match at Hampstead showed glimpses of what they are capable of.

“The draw shows we can score goals and play with intensity,” said East Grinstead coach Mary Booth. “However, at 3-0 up we lost momentum and allowed Hampstead & Westminster back in the game.

“We have had a frustrating start to the season. Apart from one game we have played quite well but are very short on points. We have a lot of new players and have lost established ones, so it does take time to embed players into the team.

“The University of Birmingham will come into the game full of confidence having won last weekend. We know three of their players very well as they played at EG last season!

“We will be without our internationals and have a couple of injuries so it will be a very interesting contest.”

Elsewhere leaders Surbiton will be aiming to make it six out of six away to Holcombe, while Hampstead & Westminster will be looking to get back to winning ways after last week’s draw with East Grinstead as they go to Loughborough Students.

Third-placed Buckingham travel to Beeston to take on a side who buoyed by their first win last weekend. The team they beat, Clifton Robinsons, go to Bowdon Hightown.

In the Investec Women’s Division One North, unbeaten leaders the University of Durham travel to second-placed Leicester City in a battle for the early lead.

Meanwhile, Swansea are third and could also go top if they beat visitors Stourport.

There are three unbeaten teams in the Investec Women’s Division One South, and two of them face each other on Saturday with Canterbury going to Reading. Meanwhile, leaders Wimbledon will want to stay top as they go to Harleston Magpies.

* Bowdon Hightown have been deducted the three points gained in their 2-1 defeat of Loughborough Students on 28 September in the Investec Women’s League Premier Division. This is due to the participation in the game of Alex Lukin, who, whilst registered as an EHL player, had played for Bayleys Midlands Hockey in the Ford New Zealand National Hockey League between 19-22 September 2019. This made her ineligible to subsequently participate in the league. Alex has now been re-registered by Bowdon Hightown.

FIXTURES

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sat, 19 October 2019):

Investec Premier Division
Beeston v Buckingham 12:00
Bowdon Hightown v Clifton Robinsons 13:45
Loughborough Students v Hampstead & Westminster 14:00
East Grinstead v Univ of Birmingham 16:30
Holcombe v Surbiton 16:30

Investec Division 1 North
Olton & West Warwicks v Brooklands-Poynton 12:00
Swansea v Stourport 12:00
Gloucester City v Belper 12:30
Ben Rhydding v Leeds 13:30
Leicester City v Univ of Durham 14:00

Investec Division 1 South
Trojans v Isca 12:00
Slough v Sevenoaks 12:15
Harleston Magpies v Wimbledon 13:30
Reading v Canterbury 13:30
Cambridge City v St Albans 14:30

Investec Conference East
Barnes v Chelmsford 12:00
Canterbury v Bromley & Beckenham 14:00
Horsham v Southgate 14:00
Wimbledon v Ipswich 14:00
Broxbourne v Bedford 14:30

Investec Conference North
Univ of Nottingham v Wakefield 13:00
Fylde v Timperley 13:30
Alderley Edge v Sutton Coldfield 14:00
Beeston v Doncaster 14:00
Cannock v Pendle Forest 14:00

Investec Conference West
Exe v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Cheltenham v Surbiton 12:30
Oxford University v Basingstoke 13:15
Univ of Bristol v Team Bath Buccaneers 13:15
Clifton Robinsons v Univ of Birmingham 15:00