Sunday, June 16, 2024

Old Georgians and Reading set for spicy league encounter

Old Georgians have reached first league play-offs: PIC: England Hockey/Simon Parker

Their survival task already hard enough, Reading will face up to seven former players in a high-octane grudge match against Old Georgians on Sunday as they fight to stay in the Men’s Hockey Premier Division.

Basement club Reading need to win to have any chance of staying up in the top flight, with Brooklands MU and Exeter also relegation threatened.

Meanwhile, Old Georgians will finish third with a win if Wimbledon lose against league champions Surbiton.

Old Georgians coach Mike Hughes, himself a former Reading coach, said: “There is still a lot to play for and not to have dead rubbers which allows us to prepare for the play-offs. We are in a position to keep getting better.”

It will be the second week in a row where OG’s have come up against a former club, with several players moving on from Exeter, the club they beat 5-2.

Hughes will be able to call upon 21 fit players for the first time this season, with Tom Carson rested.

“It has been a spicy week in training,” said Hughes. “There are a lot of players desperate for play-off places but also to play [against Reading]. I haven’t needed to motivate them this week.”

Reading have spent 27 seasons in the top flight, winning the Premier Division six times.

Second bottom Brooklands MU – who Reading beat last weekend – are hosting East Grinstead, while the University of Exeter are also not safe from the drop and go to Holcombe in search of a win.

Meanwhile in the Investec Women’s Premier Division, there are plenty of permutations.

Relegation-threatened Loughborough Students and Holcombe are preparing to face each other on the last day of the regular season on Saturday.

Defeat could cast either side into the relegation play-offs, while for Holcombe a big win could be enough to scrape into the top four and the title play-offs.

University of Birmingham host Buckingham, needing a win to be assured of safety, while Beeston could also face relegation play-offs if they lose at Hampstead & Westminster.

Currently third, Hampstead could go second and secure home advantage for the play-offs if they win and East Grinstead lose to top of the table Surbiton.

With limited top flight sport in the UK due to the coronavirus outbreak, there is every reason to support hockey’s Premier Divisions. Both men’s and women’s divisions will start at 2pm.

Investec Women’s Premier Division (Saturday):

Clifton Robinsons v Bowdon Hightown 14:00 (at Golden Hill)
East Grinstead v Surbiton 14:00
Hampstead & Westminster v Beeston 14:00
Loughborough Students v Holcombe 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Buckingham 14:00

Men’s Premier Division (Sunday):

Brooklands MU v East Grinstead 14:00
Hampstead & Westminster v Beeston 14:00
Holcombe v Univ of Exeter 14:00
Old Georgians v Reading 14:00
Surbiton v Wimbledon 14:00

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