East Grinstead and Canterbury face key battle for the play-offs

[img_assist|nid=6238|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=100]ENGLAND, March 7 – After a mid-season run of bad results, Canterbury are hoping to maintain their push for a spot in the play-offs when they play host to East Grinstead in the England Men’s Hockey League on Sunday. 

Canterbury lost just one of their first seven matches and were second in the early table. But after beating East Grinstead 4-2 in November, their form took a beating as they were victorious in just one of their next seven league matches.

But despite that run they remain third in the table, and a 3-0 win over Hampstead has given them renewed impetus.

“We’re confident at the moment,” said Canterbury manager David Stevens. “We had a bad mid-season run, and we have given away a few too many goals. But we were pleased to keep a clean sheet against Hampstead and Westminster.

“The big clubs with GB players in their squads had a slow start to the season, but have all come strong. We will focus on the way we play and what we can do, but we’re obviously aware of some of the individuals East Grinstead have in their team.”

For their part, East Grinstead cannot afford to slip up if they’re to maintain their quest to break into the top four and qualify for the end of season play-offs.

Elsewhere, Reading play host to Surbiton, with both sides still very much in the mix for the end of season competition.

Leaders Beeston – who suffered a shock 5-1 defeat at Surbiton last weekend – will want to bounce back with a home game against strugglers Southgate.

Brooklands Manchester University host Loughborough Students, while Hampstead and Westminster go to Cannock.

In the Conference West, second-placed Guildford entertain Team Bath Buccaneers who are fourth. Both teams harbour hopes of catching leaders University of Exeter, who play host to Whitchurch.

Leaders Wimbledon entertain Old Loughtonians in the Conference East, while Holcombe – second only on goal difference – go to Teddington.

And in the Conference North, leaders Bowdon could clinch top spot when they take on third-placed University of Durham. But Sheffield Hallam will be aiming to keep alive their hopes of representing the North in the promotion play-offs when they host Preston.

Tickets for the end of season playoffs on 13-14 April are on sale now. Find out more and book viawww.englandhockey.co.uk/mensfinals

Men’s Hockey League (Friday, March 8 2013)

Conference West

Cardiff & UWIC v Whitchurch 20:00

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 9 2013)

Conference North

University of Durham v Wakefield 15:30

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 10 2013)

Premier Division

Reading v Surbiton 12:30

Canterbury v East Grinstead 12:45

Beeston v Southgate 14:00

Brooklands MU v Loughborough Students 14:00

Cannock v Hampstead & Westminster 14:30

Conference East

Cambridge City v Bromley & Beckenham 12:30

City of Peterborough v Oxted 12:30

Teddington v Holcombe 12:30

Richmond v Indian Gymkhana 13:30

Wimbledon v Old Loughtonians 13:30

Conference North

Sheffield Hallam v Preston 13:30

Belper v Doncaster 14:00

Bowdon v Univ of Durham 14:00

Leek v Olton & West Warwicks 14:00

Wakefield v Khalsa (Warks) 14:00

Conference West

Guildford v Team Bath Buccaneers 12:00

Univ of Exeter v Whitchurch 12:30

Cardiff & UWIC v Cheltenham 13:00

Fareham v Univ of Birmingham 13:30

Bristol Firebrands v Havant 14:00