Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Holcombe and Barnes set for final day battle to Premier Division

Nick Bandurak’s Holcombe are out to seal an immediate return to the England Hockey Women’s Premier Division as relegation-threatened Wimbledon 2s visit Holcombe Park on Saturday afternoon.

A run of three games without a win, including a 2-1 home loss against fifth-placed Harleston Magpies, had seen Holcombe relinquish control in their promotion battle with Barnes.

But three consecutive wins – most notably one against Barnes at Holcombe Park last time out – have seen Holcombe move back to second behind Division One South champions Surbiton 2s, who can’t be promoted.

Holcombe have scored 15 goals in those three matches and conceded just four, also returning to the top of the goal-scoring standings in the division with 56 goals in 17 games, six clear of Surbiton’s 50.

Following a last-gasp 3-2 win over Barnes, Holcombe are two points clear of the Dukes Meadow side heading into the last fixture of the season.

A win would guarantee promotion while a draw would also likely be enough, with Barnes then needing to overturn a deficit of 18 in terms of goal difference, with Omar Shibli’s side facing Surbiton 2s.

If Wimbledon 2s were to win, Holcombe would be reliant on Barnes not winning at Dukes Meadow in order to seal promotion.

Phoebe Steele is looking to continue her impressive goal-scoring form with six goals in her last eight – including the last-minute winner against Barnes – and 12 for the season in all competitions.

Wimbledon 2s sit just a point above the relegation zone heading into Saturday’s match. Team Bath Buccaneers have already been relegated and will be joined by either Wimbledon or Canterbury. 

Holcombe lead the race for promotion PIC: MARTIN WAIGHT IMAGES

Wimbledon, who Holcombe have already beaten twice this season, are the top-scorers in Division One South outside of the top-three with 30 goals in 17 games, though their defensive record is only worsened by the bottom side, Team Bath Buccaneers, who have conceded 44 compared to Wimbledon’s 43.

Holcombe won 5-1 at Raynes Park High School in the reverse fixture and then knocked Wimbledon out of the cup soon after, winning 4-3 at Holcombe Park.

Entry is free at Holcombe Park on Saturday. The match will also be streamed on Veo Live.

Total Hockey

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