WHL Media Guide – Match preview




The Matchday Media Guide Is Back!

For one season only, the Premier Division will consist of eleven teams, with Swansea and Wimbledon both promoted from Division One and the University of Birmingham retaining their top flight status after finishing ninth in 2019-20.

Overall, the league will have 61 teams, with only one of the ninth placed teams in the Conferences relegated to the regional leagues instead of the two teams originally planned. With the divisions below the Premier Division starting their league programmes on 26 September, there will be more information in next week’s edition.

This week, the focus is on the Premier Division.  So where can you find information to complement this media guide?

The home page for all England Hockey competition for the 2020-21 season including the six divisions of the WHL can be found here:

Competition information is also available for seasons 2017-18 to 2019-20 by selecting the appropriate season and category.

A comprehensive list of player movements for both Premier Divisions can be found at the Hockey Paper website here:

Information about the WHL Premier Division including hopefully being able to follow the games in real time can be found at the England Hockey Altius website:

Upcoming umpire appointments can be found for all national league divisions Here,  Click on “Appointments” for any updates after the media guide is published.

And if you want to look at WHL History going back from 2016-17 


Click on a division (e.g. Women’s Premier Division 2016-17) and the league table will be displayed. By clicking on “Detail” and scrolling down, a list of fixtures in batches of 30 will appear. Clicking on the red arrow for each match will display the scorers and goal times as officially recorded. Information exists going back to 1999-2000 but some of the early seasons don’t have goalscorer information.

The Premier Division Gets Underway

For the first time since the Women’s Hockey League was formed in 1989-90, Bowdon Hightown will be missing from the Premier Division in the 2020-21 season after their automatic relegation last season. As a result, there will be no northern clubs in the Women’s top flight with teams clustered in the South, West and Midlands.

Surbiton, looking for an eighth successive title, host Buckingham on opening day. Jo Hunter moved to Stowe School during the summer and is in line for an immediate return to her old club. Buckingham have finished fourth in the last three seasons and will want to finish higher after qualifying for Europe by winning the Jaffa Super 6s indoors.

It will also be an historic day for Swansea as they visit Wimbledon for their first ever match in the Premier Division after finishing top of Division One North following the cancellation of the last round of matches. Under normal circumstances the teams would have met in a one-off promotion playoff for the first place in the Premier, Wimbledon winning Division One South to return to the top flight for the first time since 1992-93.

The losers of the playoff would have met the University of Birmingham, ninth place finishers in the Premier last season. Birmingham kept their place in an expanded eleven team division as the playoffs could not take place. Birmingham have to wait until week 2 to start their campaign as they have a bye in week 1.

East Grinstead will have felt that they could have won last season’s title, going 15 games unbeaten after losing their first three games, but had to settle for runners-up spot and a place in Europe. They start their season at Clifton Robinsons, beaten 3-2 by Beeston in the England Hockey Tier One Championship final a fortnight ago.

Beeston themselves have a repeat of last season’s opening fixture when they welcome Hampstead & Westminster to Nottingham. They should go into the match with confidence after their cup win, whilst Hampstead will miss Joyce Esser but welcome Nicola White.

Holcombe had a disappointing season in 2019-20 after challenging for league honours in previous seasons and with a changed squad host Loughborough Students, newly promoted last season and successful in avoiding relegation. 

There will be two phases to each Premier Division season. Phase 1 will see the eleven teams play their ten opponents once. Phase 2 will see the top six teams after Phase 1 play their five opponents once with the top three teams at the end of Phase 1 earning the third home game. The team finishing top of the top six table will be champions with the other five teams ranked in order.

The lower five teams will play the other four teams home and away (eight matches) with two bye dates as there will be ten rounds of matches in total.  The teams in the lower six table will be ranked from seventh to eleventh.

It is planned that the Premier Division will revert back to ten teams for 2021-22 but this will be reviewed in 2021. If the reversion goes ahead, the teams ranked tenth and eleventh will be relegated and the ninth placed team will play the loser of the Division One North/ South playoff. The winner of the Division One North/ South playoff will be promoted.

More information can be found at the England Hockey website here:


Beeston v Hampstead & Westminster

Nottingham Hockey Centre – 1400

Last Season: (14 September 2019)

Beeston 1 (Rosy Stephens) 

Hampstead & Westminster 4 (Grace Balsdon, Sarah Robertson (2), Joyce Esser)

The teams met on the opening day of last season in Hampstead’s first-ever Premier Division fixture. Hampstead will miss Esser’s goals but with Nicola White eager to return to domestic hockey in Hampstead colours, the London club will be hoping to improve on last season’s third place. Beeston go into the match with a trophy after beating Clifton Robinsons 3-2 in the England Hockey Tier 1 final at Nottingham Hockey Centre. 

Trivia note: The teams met in the last league game of the season at Paddington Recreation Ground where Hampstead won 4-0 with two goals from Esser, and one goal from Jo Leigh and Lauren Hunt, so the teams will effectively be meeting is successive league games.

Clifton Robinsons v East Grinstead

Coombe Dingle – 1330

Last Season: (30 November 2019)

Clifton Robinsons 1 (Tara Chittenden)

East Grinstead 2 (Lucy Holder, Courtney Hansford)

Last 5 Seasons: 1-2; 2-3; 3-4; 1-2; 3-0

East Grinstead will be particularly disappointed that the 2019-20 season ended early due to COVID-19 as their form suggested that they had a real chance to end Surbiton’s domination after six consecutive Championship wins. However they had to settle for a place in Europe and will hope to replicate the form which saw them go unbeaten after losing their first three games at the start of the season. Clifton Robinsons ended the season with two wins including an unexpected 1-0 win at Surbiton, but having proved that they could battle with Hampstead & Westminster, they will want to avoid the kind of form which saw them go without a win in six games before their victory at Surbiton.

Trivia note: Clifton’s only home win over East Grinstead came in their first meeting when a Claire Thomas brace and a goal from Danielle Jordan gave them a 3-0 win in November 2015. 

Holcombe v Loughborough Students

Holcombe Park – 1600

Last Season: (5 October 2019)

Holcombe 1 (Jo Westwood)

Loughborough Students 1 (Lucy Millington)

Holcombe had a disappointing season in 2019-20 and will be looking to improve in 2020-21 with a host of new signings and the return of former coach Kevin Johnson. Loughborough Students achieved their ambition of retaining their top flight status for a second season and will also be aiming to build on last season’s performance.

Trivia note: As with Beeston and Hampstead, the teams met on the last day of the season, so will also be effectively playing successive league matches, although Loughborough were at home and won 3-2, Hannah Grieve, Lizzie Neal and Millington doing just enough to see off Holcombe who responded through Eloise Richards and Leah Wilkinson.

Surbiton v Buckingham

Sugden Road – 1500

Last Season: (9 November 2019)

Surbiton 3 (Emily Guckian, Erica Sanders, Giselle Ansley)

Buckingham 2 (Kitty Higgins, Lottie Porter)

Last 5 Seasons: 3-2; 2-1; 1-2; DNP; 5-0

Surbiton start their quest for an eighth successive title at home to Buckingham, a team which like Surbiton was playing in the South Clubs’ Women’s Hockey League 14 years ago and now is one of the top teams in the country.

With Erica Sanders now plying her trade in the Hoofdklasse with HDM after two seasons at Sugden Road, Surbiton have brought Emma Bandurak, Steph Elliott and Alice Wills in from Holcombe in an effort to keep their crown. Buckingham have made progress after initially being Promotion Tournament contenders when they first reached the Premier Division, but since they were last promoted from the Conference West in 2016-17, they have finished fourth in the last three consecutive seasons and after winning the Super 6s last season to earn a place in Europe, they should have the impetus to break into the top three. Jo Hunter makes a quick return to Sugden Road after moving to Buckingham in the close season.

Trivia note: Hunter left Buckingham in September 2009 to join Beeston before playing for Leicester and Surbiton. Hunter scored for Buckingham in March 2008 when Surbiton were beaten 5-2 at Sugden Road, Buckingham winning all eighteen games in SCWHL Division 2. She was also on target when Leicester won 2-1 at Surbiton in October 2012.

Buckingham’s last win at Sugden Road was on 11 November 2017, Kitty Higgins and Lauren Thomas scoring in the last six minutes after Sarah Page opened the scoring for Surbiton (2-1 to Buckingham).

Wimbledon v Swansea

Raynes Park High School – 1530

Last Meeting: (3 March 2007, Raynes Park High School):

Wimbledon 2 (Sumari Usher, Kelly Morgan)

Swansea 4 (Katrin Budd 2, Carys Gordon 2)

Wimbledon host Swansea after both teams were promoted to the Premier Division after being declared Division One champions following the last round of matches being cancelled. Wimbledon are back in the top division for the first time since 1992-93 and experienced a freefall from national league to South League before eventually making their way back. When Wimbledon last faced Swansea they were due to be relegated to the South League at the end of the season and even dropped into the South second division before going back up. Back in the Conference East, they had to wait until 2016-17 to finish top and then agonizingly missed out on a top two place in the Promotion Tournament. 

Swansea played in the short-lived Premier 3 twelve team division in 2004-05 before the league was restructured to form a National South Division for three seasons below Division One. When the Conference were introduced in 2008-09, Swansea were ever present in the Conference West before another restructuring saw them earn a place in Division One North for 2019-20, a geographical anomaly. Against the odds, they were leading the division before the season prematurely ended and with the playoffs unable to be held, were given a Premier Division place with Wimbledon.

Trivia note: In the first match in November 2006, Swansea beat Wimbledon 5-2 in Wales, Emily Scudamore scoring twice, with Beth Fisher, Sarah Sloane and Samantha Griffiths scoring for the hosts. Emma Rowland-Jones and Usher were Wimbledon’s scorers.

. Premier Division – Phase 1BeeBucCREGH&WHolLSSurSwaUoBWim
28 Nov

19 Sep

7 Nov3 Oct
24 Oct

24 Oct
21 Nov

17 Oct26 Sep12 Dec
Clifton Robinsons5 Dec

19 Sep
17 Oct

21 Nov26 Sep
East Grinstead26 Sep3 Oct

28 Nov

24 Oct7 Nov
Hampstead & Westminster

7 Nov18 Oct

3 Oct5 Dec28 Nov

Holcombe21 Nov5 Dec

24 Oct
19 Sep

3 Oct
Loughborough Students17 Oct10 Oct12 Dec21 Nov

26 Sep

19 Sep28 Nov10 Oct
12 Dec

24 Oct


10 Oct12 Dec
26 Sep7 Nov

5 Dec
University of Birmingham10 Oct

12 Dec7 Nov28 Nov3 Oct


10 Oct
5 Dec21 Nov19 Sep17 Oct
Games since….
(Premier Division Regular Season only)
A WinA Home WinAn Away WinA DefeatA Home DefeatAn Away DefeatA Score DrawA No Score DrawConceding A GoalScoring A GoalConceding More Than 1Scoring More Than 1Keeping A Clean SheetFailing To ScoreWinning  Consecutive GamesLosing Consecutive GamesGaining A PointLosing A PointWin By More Than OneLoss By More Than One
Clifton Robinsons000312242203301003022310
East Grinstead00015878530013011701508016
Hampstead & W00021112N20200N020209
Loughborough S0051106N00004210101172
U of Birmingham211000736011220202021

N= No occurrence 

* Wimbledon were last in the Premier Division in 1992-93 and records are not currently accessible, so sequences will be added from this season as they occur.

** Swansea are in their first ever season in the Premier Division

Final IWHL Premier Division TablePWDLFAGDPts
1Surbiton (Champions)18151245261946
2East Grinstead18123348212739
3Hampstead & Westminster18121553262737
5Clifton Robinsons187292935-623
7Loughborough Students1862102435-1120
9U of Birmingham1852112232-1017
10Bowdon Hightown (Relegated)1843111937-1812


Women’s Premier Division Fixtures – 19 Sep 2020StartMOUmpires
BeestonvHampstead & Westminster14:00Bev DeakinStephen Cox, Janice Tasho
Clifton RobinsonsvEast Grinstead13:30Ben RedwoodAnnette Harvey, Clare White
HolcombevLoughborough Students16:00Marilyn WalkerAndy Poulain, Helen Sargeant
SurbitonvBuckingham15:00James BoylanRachel Williams, Rebecca Woodcock
WimbledonvSwansea15:30Ray StrudwickDavid Howell, Rob Jenkins
Bye: University of Birmingham

England Hockey Tier One Championship Final 2019-20

5 September 2020 – Nottingham Hockey Centre

Clifton Robinsons (1) 2 (Lily Webb 4-F, Claire Thomas 70-F)

Beeston (1) 3 (Imogen O’Neill 35-F, Jillian Wolgemuth 39-PC, Alice Huddlestone 69-F)

Clifton Robinsons: Aline De Visser, Holly Munro, Kathryn Lane, Maria Jones, Holly Savage, Phoebe Richards, Catherine Macaulay, Natasha Marke-Jones, Claire Thomas, Kitty Chapple, Izzy Webb, Megan Crowson, Carmen Ansley, Lily Webb, Amy Burton, Flora Fletcher.

Beeston: Jenny Rizzo, Alice Huddlestone, Lauren Burrell, Jess Hood, Jillian Wolgemuth, Tara Aitchison, Sian Emslie, Paige Gillott, Martha Lawrence, Rebecca Malyon, Julie Whiting, Imogen O’Neill, Maddy Newitt, Carter Ayars, Nicola Moss, Ruby Apoola.

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