After helping Great Britain qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next year, many of our international hockey stars return to domestic action this weekend in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.
With strong representation in the team which beat Chile last weekend, leaders Surbiton hope to be strengthened by the return as they face a tough clash against third-placed Buckingham on Saturday.
Surbiton have lost to Buckingham on three of their last four meetings but will be hoping to make it eight wins from their first eight league matches this season.
“Buckingham have been tough opponents over the last couple of seasons and we don’t expect anything different on Saturday,” said Surbiton’s 1st XI Manager Tony Jones.
“We need to be focussed and ready as they are a physical, well drilled team who are difficult to break down.”
Surbiton’s GB players Gisele Ansley, Sabbie Heesh and Hannah Martin were expected back at training this week and should be in contention for the weekend. However Sarah Evans and Emily Defroand picked up injuries before the Chile match and are still unavailable for this weekend’s game.
“The break for the FIH Olympic Qualifier has given time for a few injuries and illnesses to be recovered from so, beyond Sarah and Emily, we hope to have full availability across our whole squad to select from.”
Elsewhere, Hampstead & Westminster lie second and will be looking for a win over visitors Bowdon Hightown, with GB players Lily Owsley and Sarah Robertson back in the squad to help them keep up the pressure on Surbiton.
Welsh GB player Leah Wilkinson returns to Holcombe’s ranks as they play host to strugglers Beeston as they bid to preserve their spot in the top four, while East Grinstead hope to have Amy Costello, Tess Howard and Laura Unsworth back and could leap-frog Clifton Robinsons in the table if they can beat them on Saturday.
And the top flight’s other match sees the battle of the two student teams with the University of Birmingham making the short trip to Loughborough Students, with young GB stars Izzy Petter and Lizzie Neal expected to return.
In the Investec Women’s Division One North, the only unbeaten team are Olton & West Warwicks, who go to the University of Durham on Saturday.
Elsewhere, leaders Swansea host Gloucester City, while Leicester City play at Ben Rhydding and could go top if they win and Swansea falter.
And in the Investec Women’s Division One South leaders Wimbledon welcome back Anna Toman for a home match against bottom of the table St Albans, while second-placed Reading host Sevenoaks as they bid to keep pace with Wimbledon.
Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sat, 9 November 2019):
Investec Premier Division
Surbiton v Buckingham 12:00
East Grinstead v Clifton Robinsons 13:30
Hampstead & Westminster v Bowdon Hightown 13:30
Loughborough Students v Univ of Birmingham 14:00
Holcombe v Beeston 16:30
Investec Division One North
Swansea v Gloucester City 12:00
Univ of Durham v Olton & West Warwicks 12:30
Belper v Brooklands-Poynton 13:30
Ben Rhydding v Leicester City 13:30
Stourport v Leeds 18:00
Investec Division One South
Isca v Slough 12:00
Trojans v Canterbury 12:00
Wimbledon v St Albans 13:00
Harleston Magpies v Cambridge City 13:30
Reading v Sevenoaks 16:30
Investec Conference East
Barnes v Broxbourne 12:00
Canterbury 2s v Chelmsford 12:00
Horsham v Ipswich 14:00
Southgate v Bromley & Beckenham 14:00
Wimbledon 2s v Bedford 15:00
Investec Conference North
Pendle Forest v Timperley 11:30
Doncaster v Univ of Nottingham 12:00
Fylde v Alderley Edge 13:30
Beeston 2s v Cannock 14:00
Wakefield v Sutton Coldfield 14:00
Investec Conference West
Oxford Hawks v Cheltenham 12:00
Oxford University v Exe 12:30
Univ of Bristol v Clifton Robinsons 2s 13:15
Basingstoke v Univ of Birmingham 2s 14:00
Surbiton 2s v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:00
Courtesy of England Hockey