Bowdon fight to maintain England hockey record

Bowdon Hightown host the University of Birmingham in a key relegation clash on Saturday.

Bowdon, bottom of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, will be automatically relegated and become the last founder member of the league to be relegated to the second tier if they lose to ninth-placed Birmingham and eighth-placed Beeston pick up at least a point at Buckingham.

Bowdon trail Birmingham by five points with three games to play and will face an in form team which won twice last weekend, 2-1 at Clifton Robinsons and 3-1 at home to Loughborough Students. Bowdon lost 3-2 at Beeston as the Nottingham club remained a point ahead of Birmingham.

Fifth-placed Loughborough, sixth-placed Clifton Robinsons and seventh-placed Holcombe can also still mathematically finish ninth and face the loser of a one-off playoff game between the champions of Division One North and Division One South in a two leg playoff to retain top flight status. Holcombe are at home to Clifton and Loughborough host a third-placed East Grinstead team battling with second-placed Hampstead and Westminster to finish second and earn a home semi-final.

Hampstead are at home to Surbiton, regular season champions for the fifth time in six seasons after a 5-2 win at Buckingham and a 2-1 home win over Holcombe last weekend. Hampstead lost 2-1 at East Grinstead on Sunday after a 4-1 win at Holcombe on Saturday to stay one point ahead of third-placed East Grinstead.

Buckingham, currently fourth and in the last playoff place, followed up their home defeat to Surbiton with a 3-2 win at Clifton Robinsons which gives them a six point cushion over Loughborough. Surbiton, Hampstead & Westminster and East Grinstead have already qualified for the playoffs.

In the Men’s Hockey League, Surbiton need a point to finish top of the Premier Division for the second season running at home to Brooklands Manchester University on Saturday. Brooklands were beaten 12-0 earlier in the season in Sale and will be keen to make amends. Surbiton drew 3-3 at home to fourth-placed Old Georgians and won 5-0 at seventh-placed East Grinstead last weekend.

Second-placed Wimbledon travel to sixth-placed Beeston as they battle with third-placed Hampstead & Westminster for runners-up spot and a home semi-final. Wimbledon beat East Grinstead 7-2 and won 3-1 at bottom club Reading to stay a point ahead of Hampstead, who kept up the pressure with a 5-0 home win over Reading and a 3-1 win at Old Georgians. Hampstead are at home to the University of Exeter.

Old Georgians host East Grinstead on Saturday evening, favourites to join already qualified Surbiton, Wimbledon and Hampstead in the playoffs.

Beeston had a mixed weekend at home as they lost 4-3 to fifth-placed Holcombe before beating the University of Exeter 2-1. Exeter moved up to eighth place thanks to their 3-2 win at Brooklands, who dropped to ninth in spite of a subsequent 1-1 draw at home to Holcombe. 

Reading, facing the threat of automatic relegation, trail Brooklands by four points and travel to Holcombe before a vital home game against Brooklands next weekend.

Old Georgians’ home game with Beeston, postponed due to Storm Dennis on 15 February, has been rearranged for Sunday 1 March.

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