Vitality Women’s Hockey League Preview – 5 March 2022
Surbiton face their second successive top of the table clash as they visit Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday afternoon. Having overwhelmed East Grinstead 6-0 at home last weekend to open up a three point lead at the top of the Premier Division Top Six table, Surbiton now have Hampstead as their nearest rivals following Hampstead’s 4-2 win at Beeston which ended a run of four games without a win. That run started when Surbiton beat Hampstead 3-2 at Sugden Road in November to end a run of ten successive wins, beginning with Hampstead’s final match of 2020-21.
East Grinstead, currently in third place, host sixth-placed Clifton Robinsons, who have won once in six trips to West Sussex since East Grinstead were promoted to the Premier Division in 2014-15. East Grinstead won 6-1 back in November, when Clifton last visited Saint Hill and East Grinstead will be hoping to stay in touch with the top two.
Fifth placed Beeston travel to fourth-placed Wimbledon, where they crashed 6-0 in Phase One last October. Wimbledon were back on the winning trail last weekend when they won 2-1 at Clifton Robinsons for the second time this season after slipping up 1-0 at home to Surbiton the week before. Beeston are still waiting for their first goal against Wimbledon after losing 1-0 at Nottingham Hockey Centre in October 2020.
In the Bottom 5, it’s Swansea’s turn to have the first of two bye weeks. Holcombe face the University of Birmingham, needing a win if they are going to keep Buckingham, currently in the relegation zone, at bay as Holcombe hold a three point lead, having played a game more. Birmingham are yet to win at Holcombe Park in seven visits, having drawn on their first and last trip and contrived to lose 3-1 for five successive seasons between 2015-16 and 2019-20. The game in Phase 1 ended 2-2 back in September.
Buckingham will want to build on last week’s 2-0 win at Holcombe as they visit Loughborough Students, who joined the University of Birmingham on 13 points after a 1-0 win at Swansea. The Welsh club will be looking on anxiously as the games start to run out in their battle to avoid relegation back to Division One. Loughborough have won both home encounters in their first two seasons back in the Premier after being promoted and a third home win in a row would boost their hopes of staying up.