England: England Hockey League 2023/24 Premier Division Weekend 17 Preview

Champions Old Georgians meet Hampstead & Westminster (6pm) bidding for a hat-trick of wins this season over their London rivals.

Old Georgians came from behind for the second successive match in edging past Beeston last weekend and remain on a 15-game winning streak.

Both clubs won their opening League Finals fixture in Pool A, while Old Georgians won the corresponding fixture in League Finals Pool A last season, 4-0 at H&W.

Saturday evening’s winner can qualify for next month’s League Finals semi-finals if Holcombe and Beeston (6pm) draw, regardless of any shoot-out result.

Holcombe’s 1-0 home defeat last weekend was their second in the last three home games while the Medway side beat Beeston 10-0 at Holcombe Park when the two sides met in November.

In Pool B, Surbiton host Southgate (6:15pm) with the visitors looking for their first victory at Sugden Road since 1992.

Surbiton have won their last seven home fixtures against Southgate and form points to another three-pointer: Surbiton beat Oxted 8-1 last week whilst Southgate lost 7-3 for the second time this season.

Surbiton and Wimbledon will both qualify for Finals Weekend if they win on Saturday.

Wimbledon take on Oxted (4:30pm) at Raynes Park with Karl Stagno’s side holding the upper hand over Saturday’s visitors. Wimbledon won 4-0 in September and the corresponding League Finals fixture 6-2 last season.

In the relegation play-off, Reading need to beat East Grinstead at Saint Hill (6pm) or face relegation to Division One.

Reading’s 2-2 draw at Cardiff & Met last week ended a run of four successive losses, while East Grinstead are looking for a season hat-trick after two wins already.

Meanwhile, University of Nottingham host Cardiff & Met in the penultimate game of the season (6pm). Should Cardiff win both Reading and the UoN will be relegated.

UoN have won two, drawn two and lost two of their six games in 2024 after losing all 11 games in Phase One.

Hampstead & Westminster’s Madi Ratcliffe heads into this weekend as joint top scorer in the Women’s Premier Division and gunning for more against Clifton Robinsons(3pm).

Ratcliffe joined East Grinstead’s Tess Howard with 13 goals apiece after scoring twice against University of Nottingham last weekend.

She also scored twice against Robbies in November during a 5-0 victory, while this encounter will be the fifth time the Bristol side have visited Paddington Rec since last hosting them in March 2022.

Surbiton have won all three Premier Division meetings – scoring 15, conceding one –  against University of Nottinghamahead of their 4pm push back at Sugden Road.

Surbiton’s Leah Wilkinson has scored in all three meetings againstNottingham, while UoN aim to bounce back after a 9-3 defeat at Hampstead last week. On Wednesday they won BUCS gold for the third year running.

H&W and Surbiton can qualify for next month’s Premier Division Finals Weekend if they both win on Saturday.

So will East Grinstead and Reading if they win their Pool B games on Saturday.

Bowdon won 2-1 at East Grinstead on the opening day of the season but head to West Sussex (2pm) having lost their last six games.

Conversely, champions East Grinstead are unbeaten in 11 while Bowdon, who need a win to keep their League Finals aspirations intact, last won in October.

Reading play Wimbledon (3:30pm) for the first time at Sonning Lane since the Berkshire side were promoted in 2021/22. The hosts beat Alex Danson-Bennett’s side 2-0 in November.

In the relegation play-offs, Beeston will drop to Division One if they fail to win at University of Birmingham (2:30pm) or Loughborough Students beat Isca.

The Bees’ victory at UoB in February ended a run of nine games without a win. Meanwhile, Isca head to Loughborough for the first time. It follows the Students’ two wins in Devon this season.

*Stats provided by Colin Pike

by England Hockeyl

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