Vitality Women’s Hockey League Preview – 23 October 2021
Leaders Hampstead & Westminster will be aiming to maintain their one hundred per cent record in the Vitality Women’s Hockey League Premier Division when they host Holcombe on Saturday afternoon.
Hampstead have won all five games so far this season, but are currently on a six game winning streak which started with the final game of last season, a 1-0 win at Holcombe. Ironically, the game also saw the start of Holcombe’s current six match run without a win following a 3-2 victory at Clifton Robinsons. History is with Hampstead, who have won all three league meetings, including a 7-1 home win in November 2019. Hampstead will be without Sarah Robertson and Emily Rowlands whilst Holcombe’s Beth Bingham and Rose Thomas will also be at the World Cup qualifiers.
Second placed Wimbledon travel the short distance to Surbiton for a historic local derby under floodlights as the teams face each other in a league match for the first time. Surbiton will have to try and stay unbeaten without Leah Wilkinson and Robyn Collins and Wimbledon will need to compensate for Sarah Jones and Sarah-Jayne Thorburn who are all on World Cup qualifier duty.
East Grinstead return from a second week off after a bye week, having also fallen behind with their fixtures after competing in Europe. Like Surbiton and Wimbledon, East Grinstead have never faced Swansea before, due to East Grinstead playing in the Conference East and Swansea in the Conference West before East Grinstead won promotion to the top flight. Swansea haven’t won this season and with Ella Jackson joining East Grinstead’s Jo Westwood in the World Cup qualifiers, will find their task slightly harder in West Sussex.
Clifton Robinsons are at home to Loughborough Students and are the only two teams from Loughborough’s first-ever season in the Premier Division in 2000-01, currently in the top division. Both teams won their first league match of the season, Clifton at Swansea and Loughborough at home to Holcombe. Loughborough have never beaten Clifton in six historic meetings but will be hopeful, even without the services of Charlotte Watson as Clifton will have to cope without Izzy Webb, Livvy Hoskins and Phoebe Richards.
Beeston will be missing Sophie Robinson when they travel to the University of Birmingham for a Midlands derby. Beeston will be hoping for a change of fortune having lost on their last three visits to Birmingham after winning in 2013. The University of Birmingham are a point ahead of Beeston after four matches, but neither team is in form, Beeston having lost their last three games and the University of Birmingham losing their last two.