Vitality Women’s Hockey League Preview – 9 October 2021
Surbiton and East Grinstead return to domestic action this weekend after competing in the Euro Hockey League and the EuroHockey Club Trophy respectively. In their absence, Hampstead & Westminster opened up a four point gap over second placed Buckingham.
Hampstead & Westminster welcome the University of Birmingham to Paddington Recreation Ground and will want to carry on where they left off in 2019-20, when they completed a league double including a 3-0 home win.
Birmingham University are likely to face a tougher task against the league leaders than in the last two weeks, when they drew 2-2 at Holcombe and beat Swansea 4-2 at home.
Second placed Buckingham take on Surbiton at Sugden Road, where they lost 3-0 on the opening day of last season. Buckingham last won in Elmbridge in November 2017 when they triumphed 2-1 thanks to goals from Kitty Higgins and Lauren Thomas, since when Surbiton have won on Buckingham’s last three visits.
East Grinstead, having had their 22 game unbeaten run ended at Hampstead and having lost three of their four games in Europe, will want to recapture their form when they travel to Nottingham Hockey Centre to face Beeston, who have lost all five Premier Division meetings and failed to score in two attempts at home against East Grinstead. Sophie Bray has scored for East Grinstead in all five encounters and will be keen to keep her run going. Beeston come back after having a bye last week.
Wimbledon cross the Welsh border to take on Swansea for the first time since November 2006 when Swansea [City] won 5-2 in the National South Division. Swansea made the return trip in March 2007 when Swansea won 4-2, but were not quite so fortunate last season when the Welsh club made their top flight debut in South West London but lost 4-0. Swansea are looking for their first ever Premier Division win this season, having earned their first point in a 1-1 home draw with Buckingham.
Holcombe entertain Clifton Robinsons with both teams still without a win so far this season after three games. Clifton haven’t won at Holcombe Park since November 2014, when due to a quirk in the fixture list, the teams met twice in thirteen days, Clifton completing a league double. Holcombe have won three and drawn two of the last five meetings in Kent and will be hoping to continue their winning ways to pull away from the bottom of the table.
Loughborough Students, currently bottom of the table after losing both their games, are without a game this weekend.