PREVIEWS: Investec Women's Hockey League

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Relegation-threatened Holcombe and University of Birmingham face each other this Saturday in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, two of five teams who could mathematically still go down via the play-offs if they finish 9th in the table.

Hosts Holcombe are one of four teams – including the University of Birmingham – on 17 points, plus Beeston on 18 points, who are still not safe from the drop as the regular season heads towards a dramatic conclusion.

“Every single game this season has been important to us, I see that each week in training and on game day,” said Julie Garbett, Holcombe’s team manager. “The ladies give their all and sometimes it goes our way and sometimes it doesn't.

“When it doesn’t we reflect and learn and Birmingham is equally as important as all the other matches. With two matches left we are going to play with as much pride as we always have and hopefully finish on a high.

“Birmingham beat us when we played them at their club, but I honestly don't think they are even thinking about that, it's each match as it comes.”

Clifton Robinsons are one of the other teams on 17 points and they face a tough trip to leaders Surbiton, while Loughborough Students go to relegated Bowdon Hightown in search of safety.

Elsewhere fourth-placed Buckingham entertain Hampstead & Westminster knowing that a win will secure their place in the play-offs. If they slip up and Beeston beat East Grinstead, the fate of the fourth and final play-off spot will go down to the final week of the regular season.

But having dropped to third last weekend after defeat to Surbiton, Hampstead will be going all out to retake second spot and secure home advantage in the play-offs.

Wimbledon could wrap up the Investec Division One South title this weekend if they win at second-placed Reading on Saturday.

At the other end of the Division One South table it’s the final roll of the dice for bottom of the table St Albans who must win against Slough and hope ninth-placed Isca lose to Canterbury if they are to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation.

And in the Investec Division One North table it’s close at the bottom with Belper and Leeds level on eight points and still in with a chance of surviving the drop depending on other results.

Leeds go to Gloucester City on Saturday, while Belper head to Brooklands-Poynton.

At the top of the Division One North table leaders Leicester host Olton & West Warwicks, while second-placed Swansea go to Stourport. With Leicester holding a five point advantage if they win and Swansea do not then they will take the title.

EHL PLAY-OFFS AND PROMOTION AND RELEGATION 2019-20

League Finals

The top four teams in the EHL Premier Divisions play off to be league champions. Semis - 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd. The winning semi-finalists qualify for the final.

The team finishing top of the Division at the end of the regular season take England’s second place in the following season’s European Club Championships the winners of the final are league champions and take England’s top place. If this is the same team then the losers of the final take the second European place.

As requested by teams the semi-finals this season are at home club venues. Men’s semis are on 29 March, Women’s semis are on 4 April in order to ensure Great Britain internationals are available for their clubs.

The finals are on 5 April at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

1200 hrs – Men’s final

1430 hrs – Women’s final

Promotion & Relegation – Premier Division and Division 1 North & Division 1 South

The team finishing 10th in the Premier Division is relegated.

The winners of Division 1 North & Division 1 South play off in a one-off match on 29 March at a neutral venue, Nottingham Hockey Centre. The winners of this match are promoted to the Premier Division.

The losers of this game play against the team finishing 9th in the Premier Division over two matches, home and away, with the winners on the aggregate score earning/retaining a Premier Division place.

5 April – Losers of Division 1 North & Division 1 South play off v 9th Premier Division – Match 1

18 April – 9th Premier Division v Losers of Division 1 North & Division 1 South play off – Match 2


FIXTURES

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sat, 7 March 2020):

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

Investec Division One North
Brooklands-Poynton v Belper 11:45
Univ of Durham v Ben Rhydding 12:00
Gloucester City v Leeds 13:00
Leicester City v Olton & West Warwicks 14:30
Stourport v Swansea 14:30

Investec Division One South
Isca v Canterbury 12:00
Trojans v Sevenoaks 12:00
St Albans v Slough 13:00
Cambridge City v Harleston Magpies 14:30
Reading v Wimbledon 16:30

Investec Conference East
Canterbury 2XI v Ipswich 14:00
Horsham v Bromley & Beckenham 14:00
Southgate v Bedford 14:00
Broxbourne v Barnes 14:30
Wimbledon 2XI v Chelmsford 14:30

Investec Conference North
Fylde v Cannock 11:30
Doncaster v Pendle Forest 12:00
Sutton Coldfield v Univ of Nottingham 12:30
Alderley Edge v Beeston 2XI 14:00
Wakefield v Timperley 14:00

Investec Conference West
Cheltenham v Basingstoke 12:30
Exe v Univ of Bristol 12:30
Univ of Birmingham v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:30
Surbiton 2XI v Clifton Robinsons 2XI 14:00
Oxford University v Oxford Hawks 14:30

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sun, 8 March 2020):

Investec Division One North
Ben Rhydding v Stourport 12:30