[img_assist|nid=7464|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=94|height=100]ENGLAND, March 1 – Having seen East Grinstead overtake them in the battle for a place in the end of season play-offs, Loughborough Students will be aiming to return the favour when they play host to the Sussex side in the men’s hockey league premier division on Sunday.
Loughborough dropped to seventh after they lost to leaders Beeston, while East Grinstead scraped a 1-0 win over Hampstead and Westminster.
But with the race for a top four finish being one of the closest for several seasons, the Students will be aiming to climb into contention with a repeat of the 5-4 win they secured over East Grinstead in October.
“It’s always going to give you a bit of confidence knowing you’ve beaten them before,” said Loughborough team manager Michael Lloyd. “But they are an excellent team and will have taken confidence from how well they played in Europe.”
Loughborough face Brooklands MU, Reading and Hampstead and Westminster in the final three matches, and Lloyd added: “We’ve already got a result against Reading this season, so we don’t really fear any of the teams we’ve got left.”
Elsewhere in the premier division, fifth-placed Surbiton face a tough match at home against runaway leaders Beeston, while Reading host bottom of the table Brooklands. Both Surbiton and Reading are hosting showpiece events for fans this weekend with Reading’s Super Sunday also featuring its women’s clash with Leicester and Surbiton bringing in extra seating and a Fun Zone for young supporters.
Canterbury go to Hampstead and Westminster, while Southgate must beat visitors Cannock if they are to maintain their push to avoid the drop.
In the conference east, it is crunch time for third-placed Oxted, who must beat leaders Wimbledon if their hopes of topping the table to reach the promotion play-offs are to continue. Second-placed Holcombe entertain Bromley and Beckenham.
Leaders Bowdon will be aiming to beat Leek on Sunday in the conference north, and will be aiming to do it more comfortably than the 2-1 win they scraped back in October.
Meanwhile former leaders Sheffield Hallam – who beat Leek 4-1 last weekend – travel to Olton and West Warwickshire this Sunday.
Guildford, who have not lost a league match since October, will be aiming to preserve their leadership in the conference west when they go to second-placed University of Exeter for a match that is crucial to both sides’ hopes of making it to the promotion play-offs.
Tickets for the end of season playoffs on April 13-14 are on sale now. Find out more and book viawww.englandhockey.co.uk/mensfinals
Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 3 2013)
Hampstead & Westminster v Canterbury 14:00
Loughborough Students v East Grinstead 14:00
Southgate v Cannock 14:00
Surbiton v Beeston 14:00
Reading v Brooklands MU 14:30
Oxted v Wimbledon 12:45
Richmond v Teddington 13:30
Holcombe v Bromley & Beckenham 14:00
Indian Gymkhana v City of Peterborough 14:00
Old Loughtonians v Cambridge City 14:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Sheffield Hallam 13:30
Leek v Bowdon 14:00
Preston v Univ of Durham 14:00
Wakefield v Belper 14:00
Khalsa (Warks) v Doncaster 14:30
Univ of Birmingham v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:30
Univ of Exeter v Guildford 12:30
Whitchurch v Cheltenham 13:00
Bristol Firebrands v Fareham 14:00
Havant v Cardiff & UWIC 14:00