Unbeaten in six matches, Canterbury take on Buckingham in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday as they continue their battle to avoid relegation.
The Kent side find themselves bottom of the league despite being the only team to have not lost any of their last six outdoor fixtures.
Their current position can be attributed though to the fast that they lost five of their first six games before their recent upturn in form, the highlight of which was a draw at reigning champions Surbiton last time out.
“Before Christmas we were starting to understand our strengths and how Kate wanted us to play,” said Canterbury’s co-captain Helen Fagg, referring to new coach Kate Starre, a former Australian international and two-time Olympic champion.
“It always takes time to adapt to a new style of play but we’ve adjusted well and in our last two games we’ve had the lion’s share of the play but just not been able to get all three points.
“Buckingham have had a great season so far and scored a lot of goals, so it will be an exciting game and we’re definitely not underestimating them.”
Starre’s fellow Australian Penny Squibb will also be in their squad, a versatile player who scored on her debut in a 1-1 draw with Clifton Robinsons.
Having seen their lead cut to just one point after last weekend, Surbiton will want to take all three when they host Bowdon. Breathing down their necks are the University of Birmingham, who entertain Clifton Robinsons knowing a win could put them top.
Holcombe needed a goal in the last few seconds to beat play-off rivals East Grinstead last weekend and they will want to keep pace with the top two when they go to Slough on Saturday.
Meanwhile, East Grinstead are at home against Leicester in the top flight’s other game.
In the Investec Women’s Conference East leaders Hampstead & Westminster entertain strugglers Southgate as they bid to extend their unbeaten run to 13 games, while second-placed Sevenoaks are at home against Cambridge City.
Beeston – the only team in the Investec Women’s Hockey League with a 100% record – will look to extend their advantage in the Conference North on Saturday when they host Sutton Coldfield, while second-placed Brooklands-Poynton wait until Sunday for their league match at Fylde.
Having dropped their first points since early November when they were held to a goalless draw last weekend, Trojans play Gloucester City at home. Meanwhile, Stourport could draw level with them if they can beat visitors Oxford Hawks.
* The lead photo shows Canterbury’s Ashley Mainwaring in action, left.
Saturday, February 17 2018
Investec Women’s Hockey League
Investec Premier Division
Slough v Holcombe 12:30
East Grinstead v Leicester 13:30
Canterbury v Buckingham 14:00
Surbiton v Bowdon 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Clifton Robinsons 16:00
Investec Conference East
Barnes v St Albans 13:30
Hampstead & Westminster v Southgate 13:30
Wimbledon v Harleston Magpies 14:00
Chelmsford v Bedford 14:30
Cambridge City v Sevenoaks 15:30
Investec Conference North
Beeston v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Liverpool Sefton v Ben Rhydding 12:30
Loughborough Students v Univ of Durham 12:30
Timperley v Wakefield 12:30
Investec Conference West
Olton & West Warwicks v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:00
Stourport v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Trojans v Gloucester City 12:00
Cannock v Swansea City 12:30
Reading v Isca 13:30
Sunday, February 18 2018
Investec Conference North
Fylde v Brooklands-Poynton 13:30
Report courtesy of England Hockey via Snowdon Sports