PREVIEWS: Men's Hockey League

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After starting the season with just one loss in their first five matches, Holcombe have won just one of their last five since the Winter break, and they face a tough trip to an in-form University of Exeter outfit in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Sunday.

Their play-off hopes hang in the balance having dropped to fifth in recent weeks, and they face a long trip to Devon to face a battling University of Exeter side who are second bottom but have lost just one of the last four games.

“The second half of the season started with some tough fixtures that didn't go quite to plan and we lost a couple of key players to injury,” said Holcombe’s first team manager Neil Trusler.

“Rob Field is out for the remainder of the season with a broken hand and will be greatly missed, but Harry Trusler returned to full fitness and scored a brace of important goals in our win at Sevenoaks last week.

“We have also welcomed back George Pinner from international duty who is not only a world class goalkeeper but brings his leadership skills at a crucial time as we endeavour to make the play offs.

“Exeter will be a tough away fixture. They have had a couple of good recent results against Beeston and Sevenoaks, but our confidence is high after last weekend and with a full strength squad we are looking to maintain our form and finish the season strongly.”

Elsewhere, leaders Surbiton go to Hampstead & Westminster in a clash of the top two, while Beeston travel to Reading as they look to cement third spot.

East Grinstead are currently fourth and hold the final play-off spot, something they could preserve for another week if they can win at Wimbledon on Saturday evening.

The weekend’s other top flight action sees Brooklands MU play host to Sevenoaks.

Old Loughtonians’ hopes of securing a spot in the restructured Division One for next season hang in the balance, with four teams separated by just one point in the Men’s Conference East. Currently eighth, they go to Southgate on Saturday as they aim to climb into the top six.

Meanwhile, champions Old Georgians host the City of Peterborough on Sunday – another side who could still climb the table and secure Division One hockey for next season.

Leaders Havant could secure the Men’s Conference West title if they win at the University of Birmingham on Sunday. Meanwhile, second-placed Olton & West Warwicks entertain Fareham as they bid to keep their title hopes alive.

And in the Conference North leaders Bowdon go to Doncaster in search of a win which could see them secure the title, while second-placed University of Durham go to third-placed University of Nottingham.

FIXTURES

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, 16 March 2019)

Premier Division
Wimbledon v East Grinstead 17:45

Conference East
Southgate v Old Loughtonians 14:00

Conference North
Sheffield Hallam v Leeds 18:30
Univ of Nottingham v Univ of Durham 18:30


Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, 17 March 2019)

Premier Division
Brooklands MU v Sevenoaks 12:15
Univ of Exeter v Holcombe 12:30
Hampstead & Westminster v Surbiton 13:30
Reading v Beeston 14:30

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

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

Conference North
Alderley Edge v Belper 14:00
Doncaster v Bowdon 14:00
Preston v Loughborough Students 14:00