Men’s Hockey League/ Women’s Hockey League Preview – 26/27 September 2020
This week it’s the turn of both Hampstead & Westminster teams to have a bye week as the University of Durham prepare for their first ever game in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division and the University of Birmingham start their Women’s Hockey League Premier Division campaign.
Wimbledon are the leaders of the WHL Premier after the first round of matches following their 4-0 home win over fellow newcomers, Swansea. On Saturday, Wimbledon travel to Bristol to take on Clifton Robinsons, beaten 2-1 at home by East Grinstead for the second season running.
Just behind them on goal difference are defending champions, Surbiton, 3-0 winners over Buckingham last weekend. Surbiton travel to Loughborough Students in a repeat of last season’s opening day fixture which saw Loughborough battle before going down 3-2, Lucy Millington missing a penalty stroke.
Loughborough made a better start to their second season following promotion, Izzy Petter scoring the only goal at Holcombe, who will be looking for their first points of the season when they travel across the Welsh border to Swansea.
East Grinstead will be aiming to extend their current 16 game unbeaten run with a home win over Beeston, beaten 2-0 at home by Hampstead & Westminster last weekend.
The University of Birmingham visit Buckingham, hoping that they will fare better than last season’s ninth place, in this season’s expanded eleven team division.
In the MHL Premier, Surbiton continued their dominant form over Brooklands Manchester University, winning 8-1 after scoring in the first minute. On Sunday, Surbiton travel to Beeston, where they won 7-1 last season to record their sixth consecutive win at Nottingham Hockey Centre, a venue where they once struggled, losing eight straight regular season matches plus two Championships games.
Last Sunday a late equaliser earned Beeston a 3-3 draw at Wimbledon. Wimbledon make the long trip to Brooklands, a venue where they have done well over recent seasons.
Hampstead & Westminster won 5-3 at the University of Exeter after leading 5-1 at half time. Exeter host East Grinstead in Week 2, the West Sussex club winning their local derby at home to Oxted 2-1.
Oxted renew old rivalries with Holcombe as they prepare for their first ever home game in the top flight. The teams last met in the Conference East before Holcombe won promotion and established themselves in the Premier Division.
The University of Durham are set for a baptism of fire as they visit Old Georgians for their first ever game in the Premier. Durham were promoted at the third attempt after previously missing out twice via the Promotion Tournament, whilst Old Georgians, who lost their national league place before regrouping, themselves played in the Premier for the first time last season, finishing a creditable fourth place.