🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England Hockey : East Grinstead aiming to take unbeaten run into a third year
Photo Credit : England Hockey

Following on from the long-awaited return of the Premier Division last Saturday, this weekend sees the full resumption of the Vitality Women’s Hockey League with games across all seven divisions.

Please note – unless stated otherwise, games will be played on Saturday 25 September.

PREMIER DIVISION

Almost exactly two years since they were last lost in the Vitality Women’s Hockey Premier Division, East Grinstead will be hoping to extend that run when they play Hampstead & Westminster this weekend.

Having last tasted defeat to Surbiton on 28 September 2019, the team from West Sussex will be aiming to make it 23 games unbeaten after overcoming Loughborough Students 4-1 last Saturday. But they face a stern test in Hampstead, who beat Wimbledon 3-1 in their opening fixture.

Clifton Robinsons and Buckingham both drew their first games and will be hoping to record their maiden victories of the season when they meet, as will both Surbiton and Beeston in their clash in south-west London.

Loughborough Students and Wimbledon go head-to-head with the aim of getting back to winning ways after defeats last weekend, while the University of Birmingham play their first game of the season away to Holcombe.

Swansea will enjoy a week off after a draw against Buckingham last Saturday.

DIVISION ONE NORTH

Stourport and Leicester City ended the 2020/21 season occupying the top two spots of the league respectively and will be aiming to continue that form heading into the new campaign. Stourport play their first game away to the University of Nottingham while Leicester are at home to University of Durham.

Belper – who had four former players winning bronze for GB at the Tokyo Olympics – will be hoping for a better start to this season than last when they host Gloucester City.

Brooklands Poynton began the previous campaign with a 3-1 victory away at Ben Rhydding last year and will be aiming to repeat that, while the other match is Olton & West Warwicks playing host to Bowdon Hightown.

  • Olton & West Warwicks v Bowdon Hightown – 12:00
  • University of Nottingham v Stourport – 12:00
  • Ben Rhydding v Brooklands Poynton – 13:30
  • Leicester City v University of Durham – 13:30
  • Belper v Gloucester City – 14:00

DIVISION ONE SOUTH

Unbeaten in the six games they played last year, Reading’s women are at home to Harleston Magpies in the first match of this season.

Cambridge City also didn’t suffer defeat in 2020/21 and travel to Trojans for their opening game, a fixture they won 1-0 back in October.

Sevenoaks will be aiming to replicate their 2-0 over Wimbledon 2s from last year, while in the other contests Surbiton 2s travel to Canterbury and Slough host Isca.

  • Trojans v Cambridge City – 11:30
  • Reading v Harleston Magpies – 13:30
  • Canterbury v Surbiton 2s – 14:00
  • Wimbledon 2s v Sevenoaks – 14:00
  • Slough v Isca – 14:30

CONFERENCE EAST

Last season’s table toppers Barnes face a repeat of the final competitive league game they played as they look to repeat the 1-0 victory they enjoyed over Bromley & Beckenham back in October.

Newly promoted teams Ipswich and London Wayfarers are at home for their first games against Southgate and Canterbury 2s respectively.

Horsham play host to East London and Hampstead & Westminster 2s travel to Chelmsford in the weekend’s other fixtures.

  • Barnes v Bromley & Beckenham – 12:00
  • Horsham v East London – 13:30
  • Chelmsford v Hampstead & Westminster 2s – 15:00
  • London Wayfarers v Canterbury 2s – 15:30
  • Ipswich v Southgate – 17:30

CONFERENCE MIDLANDS

After finishing the shortened 2020/21 season top of the Conference West, Sutton Coldfield begin life in the new league with an enticing fixture against Cannock, who move over from the Conference North.

Two other teams move across from the Conference West, with University of Birmingham 2s travelling to Khalsa (Leamington) – who have moved up into the National League – while Oxford University host Loughborough Students.

Bedford and St Albans – who drew 1-1 in the Conference East last year – play each other once again while newly promoted Beeston 2s and Broxbourne will face off at the Nottingham Hockey Centre.

  • Khalsa (Leamington) v University of Birmingham 2s – 12:00
  • Oxford University v Loughborough Students 2s – 12:30
  • Bedford v St Albans – 13:30
  • Cannock v Sutton Coldfield – 13:30
  • Beeston 2s v Broxbourne – 14:00

CONFERENCE NORTH

Neston – new to the league this season – face a tough prospect in their opening game as they travel to Wakefield, who won all five of their fixtures in this division during 2020/21.

Fellow newbies University of Durham 2s face a similar prospect as they host Pendle Forest, while Timperley will be aiming to repeat their 5-2 victory over Alderley Edge from last year when they meet again.

Leeds beat Doncaster away from home in 2020/21 and will hope to do so again on home soil this time, as will Fylde when they host Didsbury Northern.

  • University of Durham 2s v Pendle Forest – 12:00
  • Fylde v Didsbury Northern – 13:30
  • Alderley Edge v Timperley – 14:00
  • Leeds v Doncaster – 14:30
  • Wakefield v Neston – 15:30

CONFERENCE WEST

Three newly promoted teams make their first appearance in the league this weekend, with Penarth beginning their campaign against Oxford Hawks while University of Bristol and Witney host Basingstoke and Bristol Firebrands respectively.

Clifton Robinsons 2s beat Cheltenham 2-1 when they met in 2020/21 and will be aiming to replicate that once again.

Team Bath Buccs sat second when the league was cancelled due to the pandemic and will attempt to continue their good form against an Exe team who were unbeaten last year but drew four of their five games.

  • Oxford Hawks v Penarth – 12:00
  • Team Bath Buccs v Exe – 12:30
  • Witney v Bristol Firebrands – 12:30
  • Clifton Robinsons 2s v Cheltenham – 14:00
  • University of Bristol v Basingstoke – 14:30

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