A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – Doncaster vs. W1s (England Hockey Cup Semi-Final, 7th April, 2024)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe are bidding to reach the final of the England Hockey Cup as Nick Bandurak’s side head to Doncaster on Sunday afternoon (1pm).

Having already sealed promotion in indoor and outdoor hockey this season, Holcombe are looking to cap off a super season with cup triumph.

Surbiton 2s, who won Division One South this season, and Beeston – still threatened by relegation from the Premier Division – meet in the other semi-final.

Holcombe’s second-placed Division One South finish was enough for an immediate return to the top-flight, while Doncaster finished seventh in the Conference Midlands, the tier below Division One in the National League, after taking just a sole point from their last two matches and six points in their nine matches after the Christmas break.

In contrast, Holcs ended their league campaign with four straight victories, winning away at Canterbury and Team Bath Buccaneers before home triumphs over promotion rivals Barnes and then Wimbledon 2s on the last day to secure promotion.

Holcombe finished as the top-scorers in Division One South and ended with the third-best defensive record, scoring 58 goals and conceding 29. Only three teams scored less than Doncaster’s 27 strikes in the Conference Midlands and only three teams conceded more than their 37 goals against.

Bandurak’s side beat Trojans 5-2 in the first round before a 4-3 win over Wimbledon in the quarter-finals in December to set up this tie while Doncaster have progressed courtesy of byes to knockout Harrogate and Brooklands-Poynton.

Emma Bandurak has three goals in those two cup games and will be hoping to continue that form while Phoebe Steele will also be looking to keep her goalscoring exploits going having scored seven goals in her last nine Holcs appearances.

A win for Holcombe would set up a cup final against either Surbiton 2s or Beeston on Monday, 6th May at Lee Valley.

Image: Theresa Field