England: England Hockey League 2023/24 Premier Division Weekend 6 Preview

The Men’s Premier Division will embark on a key double header weekend as the four-way battle at the top continues, while six points are at stake for those teams looking to secure a top six place,

With the top four – Old Georgians, Hampstead & Westminster, Surbiton and Holcombe – not facing each other this weekend, the quartet will be looking to add more Phase 1 points.

Third-placed Surbiton face Oxted at home, the pair last facing each other in a convincing 5-1 win for Mark Pearn’s side last season. They then head to Beeston on Sunday where Surbiton are unbeaten in 10 years.

A high-scoring game looks odds on for the league’s top scorers, with their last eight successive wins in Nottingham reading: 5-1, 5-2, 7-1, 5-3, 5-2, 4-1, 3-2, 4-2.

On Saturday, Old Georgians face Beeston for the first time at home since a 4-0 win on the opening day of the 2021-22 season.

The league champions then head west to Cardiff & Met and a first visit since the two teams last encountered each other in Conference West six years ago. Cardiff won both matches that season.

Hampstead & Westminster, second on goal difference behind Old Georgians, face Wimbledon on the road in their first double header of the weekend before hosting East Grinstead on Sunday.

The West Sussex outfit will be aiming to end a poor run at Paddington Rec and come away with a first win since autumn 2014.

University of Nottingham continue to look for their first points of the season after five matches, which sees them first host Cardiff & Met on Saturday. 

The teams last pitted against each other in Division One North during the 2021-22 when Nottingham twice came out on top.

Southgate pair Giulio Ferrini and John Sterlini will hope for another fruitful weekend against Reading. The pair both scored when they last met in the Premier Division (at Southgate in 2015), and also found the net when Southgate last hosted Reading in Division One South during the 2012/22 season.

Full double header fixtures and timings 

*All stats provided by Colin Pike

The first double header weekend of the season in the Vitality Women’s Premier Division will see Phase 1 take shape as teams battle for contention in the top six before next month’s winter break.

League leaders Surbiton face a trip to champions East Grinstead before a London derby on Sunday against Wimbledon, the only team to beat Surbiton in the 2022/23 regular season.

“Double header weekend is going to be crunch time for most teams,” said Surbiton women’s coach Dave Beckett. “We should have our strongest squad available which is great but it will be a real test for us.”

Surbiton also lost their run of eight league titles last season to East Grinstead in the Championship finale and will be out for revenge. Last season, Surbiton won 8-2 at Saint Hill in the penultimate game of the regular season.

East Grinstead are seventh in the table and travel to fourth-placed Hamsptead & Westminster on Sunday knowing they will have to overcome a stiff test and their first away for three years against the Londoners.

There will be a first meeting in Bristol since November 2016 between Clifton Robinsons, in fifth, and third-placed Reading on Saturday. 

Clifton won 5-1 that day and will hope to continue their winning streak into the weekend before heading to bottom side Loughborough Students, whose only victory over Clifton came last October when they won 3-1 at home.

On Saturday, Loughborough head to Isca & University of Exeter in a battle of the bottom two sides, the Students aiming for their first win of the season.

Can Bowdon continue their unbeaten start to the season? They host University of Nottingham on Saturday before heading to Beeston 24 hours later. It will be the first top flight  meeting since 2020 when Beeston won 3-2 in Nottingham.

University of Nottingham, with the league’s joint leading goalscorer Jordan Homann in their ranks, currently hold sixth spot as they bid to end Bowdon’s run before a home tie against University of Birmingham. Last season’s only meeting was won 2-1 by UoN at Birmingham.

Full double header fixtures and timings 

by England Hockeyl

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