Source: Andy Smith

Investec Women’s Hockey League previews, February 21 2015

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With six teams still aiming to cement their place in the top four, Holcombe travel to Leicester on Saturday with the aim of staking their claim for a place in the play-offs at the Investec Women’s Finals Weekend.

Holcombe currently occupy the crucial fourth spot in the table, but with three other teams within two points of them they still have work to do if they are to keep their title hopes alive.

“We’ve not had the greatest run of form recently, so we’re expecting a tough challenge at Leicester,” said Holcombe coach Kevin Johnson. “It was tough at our place earlier in the season, and we burgled an equaliser late on to draw 2-2.  We were pleased to get a win at Beeston last weekend – that was the first time I’ve been able to pick from a full squad since the first game of the season and when you have a couple of key players unavailable it’s difficult. A number of our squad are still getting used to the Investec League, let alone the Premier Division. But we’re realistic – the play-offs wasn’t our aim at the start of the season, so we don’t feel any particular pressure.”

Holcombe moved up to fourth following their 4-1 win over Beeston last weekend, but a Leicester win this weekend could see them switch places. Reading also moved up the table after beating Bowdon Hightown on Saturday. They are level on points with Holcombe in fifth, albeit having played an extra game, against Clifton. This game was scheduled for Saturday but Reading are in European Indoor action in Lithuania this weekend.

The University of Birmingham are also challenging for the play-offs, and they head to leaders Surbiton on Saturday, while the bottom two – Beeston and Buckingham – face a crucial match against each other in their hopes of avoiding the drop.

In the Investec Conference West, bottom team Cheltenham host promotion-chasing Swansea City in an important match for both clubs. Elsewhere, leaders Slough are at home against Trojans.

Top plays bottom in the Investec Conference North, with Cannock at home against leaders Wakefield and both teams desperate for the points for very different reasons. And former leaders Brooklands Poynton head to Ben Rhydding as they look to keep pace with Wakefield.

Second-placed Sevenoaks take on Maidenhead at Holly Bush Lane as they endeavour to chase down Investec Conference East leaders East Grinstead, who entertain bottom of the league Horsham.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 21 2015)

Investec Premier Division

Beeston v Buckingham 12:00

Bowdon Hightown v Canterbury 13:45

Leicester v Holcombe 14:00

Surbiton v Univ of Birmingham 14:00

Investec Conference West

Bristol Firebrands v Gloucester City 12:00

Isca v Stourport 12:00

Oxford Hawks v Olton & West Warwicks 12:00

Cheltenham v Swansea City 12:30

Slough v Trojans 12:30

Investec Conference North

Liverpool Sefton v Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 12:30

Loughborough Students v Univ of Durham 12:30

Kendal v Sutton Coldfield 12:30

Ben Rhydding v Brooklands Poynton 13:30

Cannock v Wakefield 14:00

Investec Conference East

Bedford v Wimbledon 13:00

East Grinstead v Horsham 13:30

Chelmsford v Harleston Magpies 14:00

Ipswich v St Albans 14:00

Sevenoaks v Maidenhead 17:00

 Photo above shows Holcombe goalkeeper Maddie Hinch in action against Buckingham. Photo is from Andy Smith.