A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – Wimbledon vs. M1s (Premier Division Phase Two Top Six, 29th February, 2024)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe head to Wimbledon on Thursday night (8pm) in a re-arranged fixture looking for their first Premier Division win of Phase Two.

With two defeats against the top-two to kick off Phase Two, Barry Middleton’s side have slipped to fourth below Thursday’s opponents, who have beaten both Hampstead & Westminster (5th) and Southgate (6th) either side of competing at the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup after last season’s Super 6s Premier Division triumph.

Wimbledon ran out 3-0 winners back in October at Holcombe Park in a disappointing day for Holcombe, with goals coming from Ben Francis, Ian Sloan and former Holcs player Sam Hooper.

Last season, though, Holcombe were unbeaten against Karl Stagno’s side, winning 3-2 at Raynes Park High School courtesy of goals from Nick Bandurak (2) and Tom Russell and drawing 2-2 at Holcombe Park.

Heading into the match, Wimbledon have the best defensive record in the Premier Division with just 14 conceded in 13 matches, with Holcombe next having conceded 16 in the same amount of games.

Holcs (56) have, however, scored 14 more goals than their opponents in those 13 matches, with Wimbledon (42) the joint-second-lowest scorers in the Top Six alongside Southgate, who have played one extra match. Hampstead & Westminster are the only Top Six side to have scored less with 38 strikes in 14 matches.

Victory would move Holcombe back into third, above Wimbledon, on goal difference, while defeat would leave them six points behind Wimbledon with two Phase Two matches to play – a home clash against Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday with an away game at Southgate to follow on Saturday, 9th March.

Southgate remain the only side in the Top Six to have drawn a match all season across Phase One and Phase Two.

Image: Martin Waight