With a third of the regular season completed, the defending champions, Surbiton hold a five point lead over second placed Buckingham. Buckingham have the opportunity to close the gap on Saturday when they visit Sugden Road for an Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division top of the table clash (push back 4 pm).
And with the prospect of another top of the table clash immediately afterwards as Hampstead & Westminster take on Surbiton Men at 6 pm, the £5 admission fee covering both games promises to be value for money.
Surbiton Ladies position was boosted after East Grinstead had three points deducted due to an ineligible player issue but Buckingham did the double over Surbiton in the league last season before losing in the Championships semi-finals at Lee Valley.
Buckingham stunned Surbiton with two late goals to win 2-1 in November 2017.
Then with Surbiton needing a point to guarantee a first place finish, Buckingham stunned Surbiton again at Stowe School with a last minute winner to win 1-0 on the last scheduled day of the season.
Surbiton were without their international players for both games, but they were back for the end of season Championships at Lee Valley where Surbiton won 3-0 to reach the final
Surbiton’s international players are available this weekend for the last time before the last ever Women’s Champions Trophy, for which the selection was announced recently.
This season, Buckingham have been consistent, although they slipped to a surprise 2-1 home defeat to newly promoted Beeston two weeks ago. A 2-1 home win over East Grinstead was followed by a 1-1 draw at Holcombe and a 2-2 draw at the University of Buckingham. Bowdon Hightown were beaten 2-1 at Stowe School with Buckingham bouncing back from the Beeston defeat to win 4-0 at Canterbury.
Phoebe Richards and Natasha James have each scored three goals with excellent support from Madeleine Newlyn, Eloise Laity and Zoe Shipperley who have all scored twice, so Buckingham have plenty of attacking potential.
Surbiton are the last unbeaten team in the Premier Division, winning 3-1 at Beeston last week.
Elsewhere, Holcombe will be aiming to end their run of two successive defeats at the University of Birmingham after their surprise 2-1 defeat at Slough last weekend. East Grinstead host Canterbury whilst Beeston are at home to Slough and Clifton Robinsons take on Bowdon Hightown in an important bottom of the table match in Bristol.