England: EHL Hockey League Week 10 2022 Matchday Preview

It’s week 10 of the England Hockey Leagues, and with the final two game days of phase one of the 2022/23 season upon us, Hockey World News previews the weekend’s action, including a mega clash in the Men’s Hockey League and a ‘must win’ in the Vitality Women’s Hockey League.

For full fixtures and league tables, visit the England Hockey League pages here.

MEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE

Week 10 is here, and we finally get to see the nation’s two top clubs go head to head in the Men’s Hockey League as leaders Old Georgians make the short trip to Sugden Road to line up against Surbiton, who are hot on their tails, trailing by two points. Winning convincingly in February (5-1), Old Georgians will be looking to make it five consecutive matches without defeat against their closest title challengers.

After falling to a narrow defeat last week against East Grinstead, Brooklands Manchester University prepare to welcome a Wimbledon side who make their first trip to Manchester since 2020. With just one loss from seven in Manchester, Wimbledon will be eager to keep the pressure on the leading two.

East Grinstead are once again playing in front of the Saint Hill faithful as the University of Nottingham head to West Sussex. With both sides sporting one win in their last five and level on points in the table, climbing clear of the bottom two is the number one priority.

After a big win in Nottingham last weekend, Hampstead & Westminster return home to face an Oxted side in high spirits after taking all three points against Holcombe and keeping their top six hopes alive. Oxted, making the trip to the Paddington Recreational Ground for the first time in the Premier Division, will be hoping for all three points to stay ahead of Reading in the top six.

Holcombe head to Nottingham to take on Beeston, who are aiming for their first home win over Holcombe since November 2018, when Lucas Ward scored the only goal. Looking for a repeat of their last meeting, beating Beeston 5-2 at Home, Holcombe will want to put last weekend’s defeat to Oxted behind them as fast as they can.

Reading and the University of Exeter have only met across four seasons due to Exeter’s struggles to maintain top-flight status initially. Then with the Devon club having established themselves, Reading were relegated. Exeter won for the only time in Reading in September 2019, and they completed the double in February 2020. In the other three meetings, Reading scored four goals in each game, with Exeter scoring at least twice.

VITALITY WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE

Buckingham have met Reading twice at home in the Premier Division and are waiting for their first home victory after losing 2-0 in 2014-15 and drawing 1-1 in their first match of 2015-16, which ultimately saw them relegated to the Conference West. After picking up their first win of the season two weeks ago, Buckingham fell to defeat last time out against Clifton Robinsons. A win for the home side could see them climb off the foot of the table if Holcombe fail to beat the University of Nottingham. However, Holcombe will know that securing their first away win of the season will see them leapfrog their opponents and clear the bottom two.

Clifton Robinsons, who have travelled to Central London only twice in the Premier Division since Hampstead were promoted, due to the teams not meeting in the truncated 2020-21 season, head to the Paddington Recreation Ground to take on high-scoring Hampstead & Westminster.

Beeston make their second Premier Division trip to Loughborough Students, having previously met in February 2020, looking to all but end Loughborough’s hopes of a top-six place for phase two, and securing their own destiny with a win.

Struggling of late, the University of Birmingham are still waiting for their first victory at Sugden Road since Surbiton joined them in the top flight for the 2012-13 season. Birmingham make their first league visit to Surbiton for three years, having drawn twice and lost six of the previous eight meetings. With the 2020-21 season curtailed and Birmingham playing in the bottomfFive in phase two of the 2022-23 season, there has only been a single meeting in each of the last two seasons, both in Birmingham.

Awaiting the arrival of East GrinsteadWimbledon will be seeking their first home win over the East Sussex side, after they won the only Premier Division meeting in South West London last March thanks to Sophie Bray’s brace.

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