A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – Canterbury vs. W1s (Division One South, 9th March, 2024)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe are looking for their first Division One South win in four matches as they visit Kent rivals Canterbury on Saturday afternoon (1:15pm).

Holcs’ last match, away to Team Bath Buccaneers, was postponed, meaning they travel to Somerset once again on Sunday (3pm) in a double-header weekend ahead of two home fixtures to end the campaign on Saturday, 16th and Saturday, 23rd March.

That run of three matches without a win – two draws and a loss – has seen Holcombe fall behind Barnes in the promotion race. Nick Bandurak’s side are currently four points behind Barnes – who they host on the penultimate weekend of the season – with a game-in-hand.

Holcombe and Canterbury have met twice this season in all competitions, once outdoor and once indoor, with both matches ending in 7-1 victories for Bandurak’s side. Goals from Deanne Ritchie (2), Leisa Randall (2), Jade van der Zwan, Catherine Ledesma and Lottie Bingham gave Holcs victory at Holcombe Park in November, Hannah Griggs the only reply for Ollie Lumley’s team.

It was Robyn Hodges (3), Lottie Bingham (2), Catherine Ledesma and Hannah Bond who gave Holcombe indoor victory at Polo Farm in January on the way to promotion under Richard Lane, Iona Lester this time the sole scorer for Canterbury.

Heading into this match, Canterbury sit 8th, just a point above the relegation zone. Wimbledon 2s are in ninth, with Team Bath Buccaneers two points further back at the foot of the table – though with a game-in-hand against Holcombe.

Defeat could see Canterbury drop into the bottom-two if Wimbledon 2s can beat Bath on Saturday in the earliest Division One South pushback of the day.

Only five teams have conceded less than Canterbury – the top-four and sixth-placed Slough. Harleston Magpies, currently fifth after a brilliant run of form, have conceded the same amount as Canterbury with 28 goals against in 15 matches. Holcombe, meanwhile, have conceded 23 in 14.

Lumley’s side have, however, scored the least goals in the division by some distance, with 19 the next-lowest after their miserly 13 strikes, less than a goal per game.

Bandurak’s side have scored 41 in 14, an average of just under three goals per game.

Two former Holcs in Aurora Mears and Abbie Bean could take to the field against their former club on Saturday, while Holcombe forward Tilly Tillings also signed from Canterbury last summer.

Updates will be provided across Holcombe’s social media channels.

Other Division One South fixtures (Saturday, 9th March, 2024):

12:00pm – Wimbledon 2s vs. Team Bath Buccaneers

12:30pm – Slough vs. Surbiton 2s

3:30pm – Southgate vs. Harleston Magpies

4:30pm – Sevenoaks vs. Barnes

3:00pm (Sunday) – Team Bath Buccaneers vs. Holcombe

Image: Eva Gilbert