The final weekend of the outdoor Premiership sees only games in the women`s competition…but there are some crucial contests in prospect.

At the top it`s second versus first with Wildcats entertaining league leaders Watsonians at Auchenhowie, and then there is the race for the top six with sixth placed GHK taking on Grange who are four points ahead of them. Below are Uddingston and St Andrews University lying on wait, but both need to win on Saturday to maintain their challenge…and also hope that GHK lose.

And so to Auchenhowie where Watsonians are the callers. Logically the champions have been so dominant this season, they have full points from their nine games, that they must carry the pre-match favourites tag. And they have clinical finishers in the form of Sarah Jamieson, Milly Berndes-Cade, Katie MacCallum, Katherine Holdgate and others along with Emily Dark at penalty corners.

The Cats have been purring along nicely this season with seven victories out of eight, aside from a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Edinburgh University back in October. More positively, the Cats were only one of two sides that took points off Watsonians winning campaign last season with a courageous 1-1 draw. – so it can be done!

Whatever the outcome at Auchenhowie, Watsonians will still top the table going into the winter break as they have played a game more.

And so to the split. There are several permutations on offer – and they may be partly or wholly solved this weekend.

Arithmetically there are five teams involved in the race for a top six place. Grange look safe on 17 points, especially if they take another three points away to GHK on Saturday. GHK are on 13 and would almost certainly retain sixth spot with a win over Grange and then Hillhead in February.

The main danger comes from Uddingston, they are on ten points with a game in hand but with a much inferior goal difference to GHK which effectively acts as an additional point. St Andrews University are on nine points and must be considered outsiders, and even more remote are the Glasgow students who have three games in hand and would have to win them all to enter the fray.

So what do Uddingston have to do. Firstly, on Saturday they need to take the three points away at Inverleith who have yet to win a Premiership match, then take the three points from their catch-up game against Glasgow University and finally beat Clydesdale Western in February. That would give them 19 points and certainly in with a shout.

St Andrews outside chance would have to start on Saturday with the three points away to Gordonians, but they face the Edinburgh students in February to get their maximum of 15 points and then hope on favourable other results – the odds are not great.

Glasgow University`s even fainter hope of a place in the top six could falter this weekend against Clydesdale Western. The Titwood side are beginning to find some of their old form back with a five game winning run in the Premiership and an impressive victory in the Scottish Cup last weekend. They are now firmly planted in fourth spot in the table. It would perhaps be a little surprising if Glasgow were to bring that renaissance to an end.

It would also be surprising if Edinburgh University were to lose third spot being in such good form. They face Hillhead who picked up their first 3 points in recent weeks.

by Scotland Hockey

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