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Battle for the play-offs heats up

Surbiton host Canterbury in the NOW: Pensions men’s hockey league premier division on Sunday, with both sides harbouring hopes of clinching the fourth and final spot in the end of season play-offs.

Currently fourth, Surbiton have lost just once in their last 19 games in either indoor or outdoor hockey, and will want to clinch their place in the post-season competition with a win.

But Canterbury have not lost outdoors since before the Winter break, and are determined to secure a win and keep their play-off hopes alive.

“Statistics don’t matter at all to us, we just take it a game at a time,” said Surbiton manager James Lloyd. “We’ve had a couple of performances that we’ve not been pleased with recently, but apart from that Canterbury have been consistent and playing well of late so we need to focus on that.”

With their place in the play-offs guaranteed, Beeston will want to regain the lead which they lost to East Grinstead last weekend. They play host to Hampstead and Westminster on Sunday, with the league’s leading scorer Sam Ward hoping to bag more goals and boost his bid for the cash prize awarded to the top scorer at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, East Grinstead head to Cannock in a bid to keep hold of top spot and the play-off advantage that brings.

Third-placed Reading entertain a Sheffield Hallam side who climbed off the bottom of the table last weekend. The Yorkshire side will be determined to make sure they don’t drop back.

Finally, Wimbledon need to beat bottom of the table Loughborough Students to maintain their hopes of clinching a spot in the play-offs.

New leaders Southgate entertain Oxted in the NOW: Pensions conference east, with second-placed Holcombe hoping for a win at Bromley and Beckenham 24 hours later.

And Brooklands Manchester University head to Leek as they bid to preserve top spot in the NOW: Pensions conference north. Meanwhile, second-placed Bowdon face Olton and West Warwickshire, who are fourth.

In the west, second-placed Team Bath Buccaneers host third-placed Indian Gymkhana. A win is vital to both sides’ hopes of catching leaders Cardiff and Met, who take on Fareham.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League and the Investec Women’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available for both weekends.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 8 2014)

NOW: Pensions Conference East

Southgate v Oxted 12:30

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, March 9 2014)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division

Beeston v Hampstead and Westminster 14:00

Cannock v East Grinstead 14:00

Reading v Sheffield Hallam 14:30

Surbiton v Canterbury 14:00

Wimbledon v Loughborough Students 14:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East

Bromley and Beckenham v Holcombe 13:00

Cambridge City v Teddington 12:30

Old Loughtonians v St Albans 14:30

Richmond v Brighton and Hove 13:30

 

NOW: Pensions Conference North

Belper v University of Durham 14:00

Bowdon v Olton and West Warwickshire 14:30

Deeside Ramblers v Khalsa 13:30

Leek v Brooklands Manchester University 14:00

West Bridgend v Wakefield 13:30

 

NOW: Pensions Conference West

Cardiff and Met v Fareham 13:00

Cheltenham v University of Birmingham 13:00

Havant v Guildford 14:00

Team Bath Buccaneers v Indian Gymkhana 13:00

University of Exeter v Isca 12:30

 

All the latest news and results via www.englandhockey.co.uk

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