L1 Face Noon Showdown At Buckingham
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies make the trip to Stowe School to play Buckingham on Saturday (22 February) push back 12 noon.
With most Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division teams scheduled to play twice this weekend, Surbiton also face the prospect of hosting Holcombe on Sunday (push back 2 pm)
Buckingham are in contention for the fourth and final playoff place with Surbiton (already qualified), Hampstead & Westminster and East Grinstead favourites to claim the top three places.
Buckingham trail East Grinstead by seven points with a game in hand, but can't afford to slip up with both Holcombe and Clifton Robinsons just four points behind and hot on their heels.
Stowe School has not been a happy hunting ground for Surbiton over the last couple of seasons as they lost 1-0 in March 2018 and 2-1 in February 2019.
The first meeting at Sugden Road back in November saw Surbiton win 3-2, Kitty Higgins and Lottie Porter scoring for Buckingham with Emily Guckian, Erica Sanders and Giselle Ansley securing the win for Surbiton.
Buckingham were unbeaten for the first five games, beating Clifton Robinsons 4-2, the University of Birmingham 3-1 and Loughborough Students 3-1 at home whilst drawing 1-1 at both Bowdon Hightown and East Grinstead.
Having established themselves in third place in mid October, they suddenly lost five games on the spin, 2-1 at Beeston, 3-2 at home to Holcombe and in the match at Surbiton, 4-1 at home to East Grinstead and 2-1 at Loughborough Students.
Their form recovered with a 3-2 home win over Bowdon Hightown, a 3-2 win at Holcombe after the first match was abandoned at half time due to a frozen pitch, and last week they handed Hampstead and Westminster their first home defeat with a 2-1 victory.
Natasha James is their top scorer with seven goals, followed by Higgins on four, Porter on three, Abbie Brant, Eloise Laity and Zoe Shipperley on two and Alex Naughalty and Lucy Wood with single goals.
Buckingham have already had a boost this season after lifting the Jaffa Super 6s title at the Copper Box Arena so have European indoor hockey to look forward to in 2021, although sadly it will be in the second tier after East Grinstead's relegation from the Cup.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Clifton Robinsons host the University of Birmingham who unfortunately find themselves at the bottom of the table with five games to play; Holcombe are at home to Hampstead and Westminster and Beeston visit Loughborough Students.