A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – M1s vs. Hampstead & Westminster (Premier Division Phase Two Top Six, 2nd March, 2024)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe are looking for their first Premier Division win of Phase Two as Hampstead & Westminster visit Holcombe Park on Saturday evening (6:30pm).

Barry Middleton’s side have suffered three consecutive losses to the top-three to start Phase Two after nine wins in 11 in Phase One, and now sit three points above Saturday’s opponents in fourth. Middleton has been without the services of key men Nick Bandurak (all three matches), Phil Roper (two) and Hayden Phillips (one) across Phase Two, however.

Hampstead have won one of their first three Phase Two matches after seven wins in Phase One, beating Southgate 4-2, a result sandwiched by a 5-0 defeat to Wimbledon and a 5-3 defeat to league leaders Old Georgians.

Holcs ran out 5-1 winners at Paddington Recreational in the two sides’ Phase One meeting, goals coming from Tim Guise-Brown (2), Bandurak, Roper and Tom Russell – Matt Guise-Brown scoring the only goal for Andrew Wilson’s side as the Guise-Brown brothers faced each other.

Holcs remain the third highest-scorers (57) with the third-best defensive record (19 conceded) in the league and Top Six, while the visitors are the lowest scorers in the Top Six (38) and have conceded the second-highest amount of goals with 35, compared to Southgate’s 44.

Holcombe have won each of the last four meetings, scoring 12 goals in the process and conceding just three times.

Victory for Holcombe would guarantee a top-four finish, and fourth spot itself would be guaranteed if Wimbledon draw or win at home against Surbiton. That would see Holcombe play in Pool A in Phase Three – with Hampstead & Westminster guaranteed to finish fourth or fifth as it stands and therefore also play in Pool A.

The teams in first, fourth, fifth and eighth play in Pool A in Phase Three while second, third, sixth and seventh play in Pool B. The top-two from each Pool qualify for League Finals Weekend.

Entry is free at Holcombe Park on Saturday and updates will be provided across Holcombe’s social media channels.