Bowdon Hightown host Buckingham in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, in a match which is crucial to both team’s hopes of avoiding relegation.
Currently ninth, Bowdon Hightown will leap-frog Buckingham if they take victory. Buckingham will want to replicate the 3-1 win they secured over their rivals back in September, but in recent weeks Bowdon have looked the team in form having beaten Holcombe and drawn with Leicester.
“It is the most important match of the season for us,” said Bowdon Hightown manager Roger Hunt. “We have a tough match against Surbiton next week so it’s really important that we get a result against Buckingham. We want to rectify the 3-1 loss earlier in the season. We were up at half time then had a poor second half. But we’ve done well recently, beating Holcombe was our best performance of the season and then drawing with Leicester last week was a boost.”
Saturday could be the last throw of the dice for Leicester’s hopes of making the play offs at the Finals Weekend, which this year is being held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Leicester go to third-placed Canterbury, aiming to close the four-point gap between them and Holcombe in fourth.
Holcombe are at home against Reading who similarly still have hopes of reaching the play-offs, while the University of Birmingham entertain bottom of the table Beeston as they look overtake the three teams above them and extend their season.
Leaders Surbiton play against second-placed Clifton at Sugden Road with top spot up for grabs. Surbiton are the only team to beat Clifton outdoors this season.
Title rivals Brooklands Poynton and Wakefield meet in the Investec Conference North, with second-placed Brooklands having home advantage. However they trail Wakefield by three points with an inferior goal difference so this is a must win game for them. When they met earlier in the season, they fought out a dramatic 4-4 draw.
Slough host Olton and West Warwicks in the Investec Conference West, knowing that a win would see them crowned champions. Meanwhile, Swansea City, the only team who can still catch them, entertain Gloucester City.
In the Investec Conference East, champions East Grinstead play Maidenhead at Saint Hill Road, and second-placed Sevenoaks are at home against Chelmsford.
* Andy Smith’s photo above shows Bowdon Hightown’s Natalie Wray celebrating a goal with Tina Cullen and Sarah Ingham. Credit .
Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 7 2015)
Investec Premier Division
Univ of Birmingham v Beeston 12:30
Bowdon Hightown v Buckingham 13:45
Surbiton v Clifton 14:00
Canterbury v Leicester 17:00
Holcombe v Reading 18:00
Investec Conference West
Trojans v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Stourport v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Swansea City v Gloucester City 12:00
Cheltenham v Isca 12:30
Slough v Olton and West Warwicks 12:30
Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Wakefield 12:00
Liverpool Sefton v Univ of Durham 12:30
Loughborough Students v Ben Rhydding 12:30
Kendal v Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 12:30
Sutton Coldfield v Cannock 14:00
Investec Conference East
Sevenoaks v Chelmsford 12:00
Bedford v Ipswich 13:00
East Grinstead v Maidenhead 13:30
Horsham v Harleston Magpies 13:30
Wimbledon v St Albans 12:30
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