A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – East Grinstead vs. M1s (Premier Division, 21st October, 2023)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe are looking for a third consecutive Premier Division win and their fifth in six matches as they travel to East Grinstead on Saturday (4pm) in the first part of their double-header this weekend.

Barry Middleton’s side have made an impressive start to the season with wins over Reading, Southgate, Surbiton and Oxted in their domestic efforts – the sole defeat coming at the hands of reigning champions Old Georgians.

Holcombe responded to their Euro Hockey League (EHL) disappointment by immediately returning to winning ways over last weekend’s opponents Oxted, Sam Taylor scoring the only goal of the game to take his tally to two for the season.

A win could, in theory, see Holcombe go top of the table ahead of Sunday’s match against Wimbledon – though Old Georgians, Hampstead & Westminster and Surbiton would all need to draw or lose for that to happen, or Middleton’s side would have to win by a significantly larger margin than the other teams currently level on 12 points.

East Grinstead have made an inconsistent start to the season, winning two and losing three of their five matches to leave them seventh in the table, just three points outside of the top-six ahead of the league splitting come the end of Phase One in November.

The Sussex side have lost to Oxted, Beeston and Wimbledon so far, beating the University of Nottingham and promoted side Cardiff & Met, currently in ninth in their first ever Premier Division campaign.

Holcombe currently boast the joint-best offensive record with 18 goals in five matches and sit third in the defensive rankings, conceding just six goals.

Saturday’s hosts, meanwhile, are the joint-lowest scorers in the top-10, with only bottom-two sides Reading and the University of Nottingham scoring less than their nine goals. EG do possess the best defensive record in the bottom-six, but this is worse than all six sides above them in the table.

The two sides met just once in the Premier Division last season, with Holcombe taking all three points from Saint Hill courtesy of goals from Louis Parker and Tim Guise-Brown in a Phase One clash. They did also meet in the Super 6s Premier Division, with East Grinstead running out 9-5 winners on their way to reaching Finals Day – goals came from Tijn van Groesen, Ross Stott, Daniel Faulkner, Simon Faulkner, Nick Catlin, Kyle White (2), Tom Crowson and Ben Mackey for Saturday’s hosts, while Rob Field scored a hat-trick for Holcombe and Jake Raben netted twice.

Updates of the match will be provided across our social media channels on Saturday.

Image: Martin Waight