Vitality Women’s Hockey League Preview – 23 April 2022
With the Top Six now completed, the focus for the final weekend of the Vitality Women’s Hockey League season is on the Bottom Five.
The only major issue to be decided is which teams will finish seventh and eighth, as ninth to eleventh has already been confirmed. Swansea will finish eleventh and return to Division One, Loughborough Students would have joined them with a tenth-placed finish, if a late decision had not been made to only relegate one team from the Premier Division, in preparation for a twelve-team top flight in 2022-23. Loughborough cannot catch ninth-placed Holcombe, who finished their league programme last week as they are six points behind the Kent club.
Seventh-placed University of Birmingham holds a two-point lead over eighth-placed Buckingham going into the final round of matches and travel across the Midlands to Loughborough Students for a 2 pm push back on Saturday. The teams drew 1-1 when they last met in Leicestershire in November and Birmingham won 3-1 when the return fixture was played in the West Midlands in March.
Normally, all games on the final weekend start at the same time, but Swansea’s home game with Buckingham will start two hours earlier at 12 noon after the league gave special dispensation due to pitch booking issues and with the single relegation issue already decided. Buckingham will be in the unusual situation of starting and ending the season in Wales after Swansea started the 2021-22 season with a 1-1 home draw. The teams didn’t meet again until 12 March when Buckingham won 3-0 at Stowe School.