Previews: Women's Hockey League Round 2

Previews: Women's Hockey League Round 2
It is the turn of Birmingham University to enter the fray of the EHL Women’s Premier Division as they travel south to take on Buckingham on Saturday.

The university side has undergone some changes recently after long-serving Head Coach Phil Gooderham retired after 15 years’ service to the team. Richard Chambers has stepped up from his role as assistant coach to take over the reins and will be calling on all his experience to make sure the students hit the turf at full tilt.

Chambers’ opposing number Zak Jones is hoping that, with a match already under their belts, his side will be able to rectify the errors they made in their tough opening match against Surbiton. He is calling on his squad to demonstrate their intense, fast-paced playing style to gain the advantage over Birmingham University.

Jones explained that Buckingham’s opening match, which they lost 3-0, was made more difficult as two of his relatively small squad were out of action, meaning the travelling playing roster was reduced to 14.

“It was two key midfielders and we couldn’t risk them,” said Jones. “So in the second half we got pretty tired. In the first half we were unlucky not to go ahead. I am hopeful that, against Birmingham, at least one if not both of the players will be fit for this weekend.”

Ahead of the encounter with Birmingham University, the Buckingham team will be working on some key points that Jones felt had deserted his team in their opening fixture.

“It was frustrating because we had a really good pre-season, but last weekend there were some nerves and that showed in our ball handling and retention. We can cope with that if it is just a couple of players but it just wasn’t going for us. Also, our defence wasn’t as tight as it can be.

“It was a typical, scrappy first game performance really -It would be nice if Birmingham are where we were last week,” he added wryly.


Swansea and Holcombe will also be on the hunt for points after both sides lost their opening fixtures. The Welsh team were on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline against Wimbledon while, against Loughborough Students, Holcombe were undone by an Izzy Petter goal early in the game.

Clifton Robinsons host a Wimbledon team who have one of Clifton’s most celebrated former players helping decide the tactics from the sideline. Alex Danson-Bennett has joined the coaching staff at the South West London club and will be hoping that her new team is able to continue the winning ways they showed in the opening fixture.

Loughborough Students will need to be on top of their game if they are to maintain winning ways as they face a visit from Surbiton, who put three goals past Buckingham last week. Among the danger players from Surbiton is Lottie Ross, who has risen through the ranks from junior to senior via a spell at Nottingham University with some aplomb and scored a brace in the first league game of the season.

Saturday’s action will be rounded off with the last scheduled match of the afternoon taking place at East Grinstead as the West Sussex side plays host to Beeston. The Nottingham-based side will need to be alert to the quality that East Grinstead possesses over all areas of the pitch. A strong show against Clifton Robinson last weekend signals the intent of East Grinstead to challenge for honours this season.

You can follow the action in the Premier Division including live scores at https://englandhockey.altiusrt.com/ or click HERE.

Arrangements for spectators at clubs in all Divisions of the league will vary depending on their individual circumstances. Anyone wishing to attend a game is advised to check with the home team before travelling.

FIXTURES
Women’s Hockey League (Sat, 26 September 2020):

Premier Division
Buckingham v University of Birmingham 12:00
Swansea v Holcombe 12:00
Clifton Robinsons v Wimbledon 13:30
Loughborough Students v Surbiton 14:00
East Grinstead v Beeston 15:00

Division One North
Olton & West Warwicks v Belper 12:00
University of Durham v Gloucester City 12:00
University of Nottingham v Bowdon Hightown 12:30
Ben Rhydding v Brooklands-Poynton 13:30
Stourport v Leicester City 18:00

Division One South
Isca v Reading 12:00
Slough HC v Sevenoaks 12:15
Canterbury v Cambridge City 14:00
Wimbledon 2s v Trojans 14:00
Surbiton 2s v Harleston Magpies 14:30

Conference East
Barnes v Hampstead & Westminster II 12:00
St Albans v Canterbury 2s 13:00
Horsham v Bedford 13:30
Southgate v Chelmsford 14:30
East London v Bromley & Beckenham 18:00

Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Oxford Hawks 12:30
Oxford University v Cheltenham 12:30
Sutton Coldfield v University of Birmingham 2s 12:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Clifton Robinsons 2s 13:30
Basingstoke v Exe 14:00

Conference North
Loughborough Students 2 v Doncaster 12:00
Didsbury Northern v Cannock 12:30
Fylde v Pendle Forest 13:30
Alderley Edge v Leeds 14:00
Wakefield v Timperley 15:00