Holcombe head to local rivals Canterbury in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, aiming to secure the final spot in the play-offs with a victory.
Currently fourth, Holcombe could seal their place in the Finals Weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park next month if they can win at Polo Farm and other results go in their favour.
But with just two wins from their last five matches Holcombe’s form is patchy, while Canterbury have won their last six matches and conceded just two goals in the process.
“We’re still a new developing team in this league, whereas Canterbury are well established, so the pressure is more on them because they have a reputation to uphold,” said Holcombe coach Kevin Johnson. “Some weeks we’ve not been on top of our game and other weeks we play some great hockey, so who knows how it will go? With derby matches like Canterbury things often don’t go as you might expect because of external influences.”
Elsewhere Reading travel to Buckingham in search of points to keep their play-off dreams alive, while ninth-placed Buckingham need a win to stave off the threat of the play-offs.
Beaten by Canterbury last week, Leicester host bottom club Beeston as they try to stay in contention for the Finals Weekend. University of Birmingham who travel to Clifton looking for points to keep their top four hopes alive.
Bowdon Hightown are at home against leaders Surbiton and they will be trying to stay ahead of Buckingham and retain their top flight status.
Leaders Wakefield play Loughborough Students at College Grove in the Investec Conference North and need just one point to secure the title, while second-placed Brooklands Poynton go to Sutton Coldfield.
At the other end of the table, Liverpool Sefton take on Kendal knowing a win would put them ahead of the Cumbrians on goal difference in the battle to avoid the relegation play-offs.
In the Investec Conference West, there are four teams fighting to avoid getting drawn into the relegation play-offs. Bristol Firebrands and Oxford Hawks are not safe, and they play each other on Saturday. Meanwhile, Olton and West Warwicks are at home against high-flying Swansea City Champions Slough visit Cheltenham who are relegated after a season in the league.
Bedford need to win both their remaining matches if they are to avoid the relegation play-offs in the Investec Conference East. However, this Saturday they travel to champions East Grinstead. Meanwhile, bottom of the table Horsham go to St Albans.
* Andy Smith’s photo aboveshows Holcombe’s Lucy Wood in action against Buckingham earlier this season.
Investec Women’s Hockey League Fixtures (Saturday, March 14 2015)
Investec Premier Division
Buckingham v Reading 12:00
Clifton v University of Birmingham 13:00
Bowdon Hightown v Surbiton 13:45
Leicester v Beeston 14:00
Canterbury v Holcombe 17:00
Investec Conference West
Olton and West Warwicks v Swansea City 12:00
Bristol Firebrands v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Isca v Gloucester City 12:00
Stourport v Trojans 12:00
Cheltenham v Slough 12:30
Investec Conference North
University of Durham v Ben Rhydding 12:00
Liverpool Sefton v Kendal 12:30
Wakefield v Loughborough Students 13:00
Cannock v Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 14:00
Sutton Coldfield v Brooklands Poynton 14:00
Investec Conference East
St Albans v Horhsam 13:00
East Grinstead v Bedford 13:30
Maidenhead v Ipswich 13:30
Sevenoaks v Harleston Magpies 13:30
Chelmsford v Wimbledon 14:00