[img_assist|nid=6126|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=76]The fixtures for the forthcoming Investec Women’s Hockey League season have been announced (please see attached PDF). Once again, thanks to the support of Investec, prize money will be on offer for the best teams and athletes. The winners and runners-up of each of the four divisions, as well as third place in the Premier Division and each division’s Player of the Season and top goal scorer will collect the rewards at the end of the season.Last year’s champions Reading will begin the defence of their title with a home game against Canterbury in the Investec Women’s Premier Division on Saturday 14 September. The last time the two sides met was in the Investec Women’s semi final in April which Reading won 5-1 before defeating Leicester in the final. Following their promotion into the Investec Premier Division, newcomers Beeston start off with a Midlands derby against Sutton Coldfield. Carrying on the derby theme, there is another local match up between Leicester and University of Birmingham. With a fifth Midlands team, Olton & West Warwicks retaining their top league status there are a number of Midlands derbies to contest throughout the season.
With the champions for the last two seasons, Beeston, promoted from Investec Women’s Conference North their two nearest rivals in 2012-13, Loughborough Students and Durham University, will see their opening day encounter as a key pointer to see how their season may pan out. Kendal, the North League qualifier from 2012-13, open their campaign with a trip to Whitley Bay & Tynemouth, while newcomers from the Midlands League, Boots, travel to Doncaster.
After agonisingly missing out on promotion last season, Investec Conference West champions Buckingham will be looking for their fourth consecutive title as they bid to gain top flight status. They open their season with a home game against Bristol Firebrands. Exe, who return to the league after a season’s absence, will travel up the M5 to take on Gloucester City.
Investec Conference East champions, Harleston Magpies, travel to St Albans who were in the title mix for most of last season. Newcomers, Holcombe (East) and East Grinstead (South), start their campaigns at home with matches against Wimbledon and Chelmsford respectively.