East Grinstead have never won at Sugden Road since they were promoted to the Premier Division…
Last season’s top two, Surbiton and East Grinstead meet in a top of the table clash at Sugden Road on Saturday afternoon in the Women’s Hockey League Premier Division. Although Surbiton were declared league champions last season after finishing top of the table at the end of the regular season, it was East Grinstead who were the in-form team at the end of the season.
East Grinstead travel to Surbiton on the back of an 18 game unbeaten run, which started after their last defeat, 2-1 at Surbiton in September 2019. The run began with a 1-1 home draw with Buckingham, which coincidentally was the score when the teams met last Saturday at Saint Hill. Surbiton are yet to concede a goal this season and will be keen to prove that last season’s 6-1 defeat in West Sussex on the last day of the season was a blip.
Loughborough are third on goal difference and host Buckingham on Saturday. Loughborough won 1-0 at Holcombe before drawing 0-0 at home to Surbiton and showed their credentials with a 4-2 win away to Hampstead & Westminster, played at Bisham Abbey. Buckingham lost 3-0 at Surbiton but beat the University of Birmingham 3-2 at home before drawing with East Grinstead last weekend.
Wimbledon are just a point behind the top three after their last gasp 2-1 win at Holcombe last Saturday. They beat their fellow newly promoted club, Swansea 4-0 at home on the opening day before going down 3-1 at Clifton Robinsons and host London rivals, Hampstead & Westminster in an eagerly anticipated clash. Hampstead are yet to hit the ground running after winning 2-0 at Beeston and coming back from a bye week to go down 4-2 at home to Loughborough, but neither club will want to drop any more points at this stage.
Clifton Robinsons come off their bye week and make the short trip over the border to Swansea, a team still looking for their first point or goal this season. Clifton lost 2-1 at home to East Grinstead before beating Wimbledon and are making their first away trip of the season. Swansea will have worked on their defence in advance of the Bristol club’s visit and will want to improve on the 5-0 defeat to Holcombe in their last home game.
The University of Birmingham host Beeston with both teams having struggled. Birmingham are currently on a four game losing streak going back to last season and Beeston were in a similar position until last week when they beat Swansea 4-0 to end their four game losing streak, during which they had failed to score.
Holcombe are without a fixture this week.
Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
In the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, Surbiton are the only team with maximum points following their 6-1 win at the University of Durham. East Grinstead are the visitors to Sugden Road on Saturday night, having dropped their first points of the season in a 2-2 home draw with Brooklands Manchester University. East Grinstead’s new coaching team, Tim Deakin and Dave Beckett will be hoping to use their previous experience of playing at Sugden Road to give their new charges a boost.
Wimbledon are also two points behind Surbiton as they prepare for their derby with Hampstead & Westminster. Hampstead won 5-3 at the University of Exeter but were held to a 1-1 home draw by Old Georgians at Sonning Lane, Reading with Paddington Recreation Ground not currently available. After dropping two home points in a 3-3 draw with Beeston, Wimbledon have won twice on the road: 4-1 at Brooklands Manchester University and 2-1 at Holcombe to stay in contention at the top of the table.
Holcombe will want to bounce back from that defeat with a victory at Brooklands Manchester University. Brooklands earned their first point of the season in a 2-2 draw at East Grinstead and showed great resilience to lead 2-1 after going 1-0 down.
Old Georgians have had mixed fortunes with a loss, win and draw in their first three matches and take on the University of Exeter on home turf, in a repeat of their first-ever fixture in the Premier. Exeter will be disappointed not to have taken anything from last week’s visit to newly promoted Oxted after last season’s reprieve from the relegation playoffs.
Beeston are at home to the University of Durham following their week’s break. Beeston earned a point at Wimbledon before losing at home to Surbiton, whilst Durham have struggled in their first two matches, losing 8-0 at Old Georgians and 5-2 at home to Surbiton. With both teams having had their bye weeks, they can concentrate fully on attempting to move up the table.
Oxted take a break this week.