A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – Southgate vs. M1s (Premier Division Phase Two Top Six, 9th March, 2024)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe are looking for back-to-back Premier Division wins as they travel to Southgate on Saturday (6pm) in their final match of Phase Two.

Barry Middleton’s side started Phase Two with three consecutive defeats – against the top-three in Old Georgians, Surbiton and Wimbledon – before earning their first win last time out against Hampstead & Westminster to secure fourth-place and a spot in Pool A alongside Old Georgians, Hampstead & Westminster and one of East Grinstead, Beeston and Oxted.

Southgate are also already guaranteed to finish sixth, so they will be in Pool B alongside Surbiton, Wimbledon and one of East Grinstead, Beeston and Oxted.

Beeston will definitely be in the top-eight for Phase Three, but Saturday’s results will decide whether they finish seventh (Pool B) or eighth (Pool A). If they finish eighth, Pool A will consist of exactly the same teams as last season.

The top-two teams from each pool after the three fixtures will qualify for League Finals weekend.

Holcombe faced Southgate in just their second Premier Division match of the season, also at the Southgate Hockey Centre, and ran out 5-2 winners courtesy of goals from Nick Bandurak (2), Phil Roper, Tom Russell and Sam Taylor. It was also Southgate’s first home match back in the Premier Division, with a sixth-placed finish marking an impressive return to the top-flight for Kwan Browne’s side, which includes former Holc Sam Paterson and Great Britain internationals Will Calnan and Rohan Bhuhi.

Heading into this weekend, Southgate are the only side in the Top Six with a negative goal difference, having scored 47 and conceded 50.

Only Hampstead have scored less with 39 goals in 15 matches – Holcombe have scored 59, the third-highest in the Premier Division.

Southgate’s 50 goals against is more than the top-two have conceded combined, and 13 more than the next highest – Hampstead & Westminster have conceded 37.

Holcombe, by contrast, have the second-best defensive record in the division with 20 goals against, only bettered by Wimbledon’s 17.

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

Other Premier Division Top Six fixtures (Saturday, 9th March, 2024):

6:00pm – Old Georgians vs. Wimbledon

6:00pm – Hampstead & Westminster vs. Surbiton

Premier Division Bottom Six fixtures (Saturday, 9th March, 2024):

6:00pm – Oxted vs. East Grinstead

6:00pm – Reading vs. Cardiff & Met

6:00pm – University of Nottingham vs. Beeston

Image: Martin Waight