Vitality Women’s Hockey League Preview – 13 November 2021
Whatever the result at Beeston on Saturday, Clifton Robinsons will have reason to celebrate as they play in their 500th regular season Premier Division match, having only been outside the top flight for one season since the Women’s Hockey League was founded in 1989-90.
Clifton joined third placed Surbiton on 12 points following last week’s hard fought 1-0 home win over the University of Birmingham and will take on a Beeston team which also battled hard at Hampstead and Westminster before going down 1-0 and are desperately defending the all-important sixth place.
Elsewhere leaders Hampstead host Swansea on Saturday as the Welsh club still seek their first ever win in the Premier Division. Hampstead have had to battle in three of their last four games before winning 4-3 at Buckingham, 3-2 at Loughborough Students and 1-0 at home to Beeston to maintain their one hundred per cent record.
Swansea, after drawing their first game 1-1 at Buckingham have generally struggled, but previously lost 2-1 at home to Clifton Robinsons and 2-1 at Loughborough Students last week, so can take some heart.
East Grinstead, who can close to within three points of Hampstead if they win both their games in hand, visit the University of Birmingham, where they have only lost once, 1-0 in October 2017. East Grinstead won on their next two trips 3-2 and 3-1, whilst Birmingham are still battling for a top six place.
Wimbledon are third, but can be overtaken by both fourth placed Surbiton and fifth placed Clifton Robinsons if they win their games in hand. Wimbledon host Buckingham, who have lost their last three games, including a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Holcombe last weekend.
Surbiton are at home to Loughborough Students who have had a disappointing season compared to the curtailed 2020-21 season. Loughborough crashed 8-0 at Wimbledon last Sunday after securing only their second win of the season, 2-1 at home to Swansea in the first part of last week’s doubleheader. Surbiton return after having a bye week, their last match, a 3-0 victory at Swansea.
Holcombe will stay in tenth place as it is their turn to have a bye week.