The fixtures for the forthcoming Investec Women Hockey League season have been announced.
Once again, thanks to the support of Investec, a total of more than £10,000 of prize money will be on offer for the best teams and athletes. The winners and runners-up of each of the four divisions, as well as each division’s Player of the Season, top goal scorer and most hospitable club will collect the rewards at the end of the season.
Leicester ladies will begin the defence of their Investec Women’s Championship title at Olton & West Warwicks in the Investec Women’s Premier Division on Saturday 15 September. The Leicester side has four athletes in Great Britain’s squad for the Olympic Games – Crista Cullen, Hannah Macleod, Anne Panter and Chloe Rogers have all been selected. 2011-2012 runners-up Reading, from whom six athletes have been selected for Great Britain’s Olympic squad, are also away from home on the opening day as they travel to newly promoted Surbiton.
After avoiding relegation in the playoff tournament, Slough will enjoy another season in the top flight and they open the 2012-2012 campaign at home to Clifton, who qualified for the Investec Women’s Championships last season after finishing fourth in the regular season. Sutton Coldfield guaranteed their Investec Premier Division status by a point over Slough and the Midlanders open with a local derby at the University of Birmingham. Bowdon Hightown and Canterbury finished fifth and third respectively last season and the pair meet on the opening day of the new season.
In Investec Women’s Conference North, Beeston will attempt to qualify for the end of season promotion playoffs once again after missing out on promotion to the Investec Premier Division in April. The Nottinghamshire side open the new campaign at home to Wakefield Bradford, who finished comfortably mid-table last season. Liverpool Sefton were just a place off relegation but finished eighth and will begin with a trip to Doncaster, who were two places higher in sixth. University of Durham pushed Beeston all the way in 2011-2012 and the students host newly promoted Ben Rhydding on day one of the new season. Investec Conference North’s other student side, Loughborough Students, travel to Brooklands Poynton, who finished third last season while Whitley Bay & Tynemouth host Cannock, who were relegated from the Premier Division.
Buckingham’s remarkable rise through the leagues was slowed slightly last season as they missed out narrowly on promotion from Investec Women’s Conference West to the Investec Premier Division after winning the Conference title. The defending champions will be gunning for promotion again this season and open their title defence at Firebrands, who finished fifth. Buckingham’s closest challengers in 2011-2012 were Swansea City, who finished five points adrift. The Welsh side travel to Somerset on the opening day to take on Taunton Vale, who have been promoted from the regional leagues. Staines finished one place above the relegation line last season and will be hoping to improve on that record this season, starting at home to Gloucester City, who finished fourth. Investec Conference West newcomers Stourport open at home to Barnes Hounslow Ealing while Isca University host Trojans.
Sevenoaks finished runners-up to Surbiton in Investec Conference East last season and will be hoping to get off to a flyer as they mount a new title campaign. The Kent side travel to Conference newcomers Bromley & Beckenham on the opening day while the division’s other new side, Wimbledon, are at home to Old Loughtonians, who finished just one point above the relegation zone last season. St Albans were third behind Sevenoaks last season and they host Chelmsford on day one. In the other matches on the opening day of the new season, Horsham host Ipswich while it’s Hawks versus Magpies as Harleston Magpies travel to Oxford Hawks.
Investec Women’s Hockey League Opening Day Fixtures
15 September 2012
Investec Women’s Premier Division
Bowdon Hightown v Canterbury
Olton & West Warwicks v Leicester
Slough v Clifton
Surbiton v Reading
University of Birmingham v Sutton Coldfield
Investec Women’s Conference North
Beeston v Wakefield Bradford
Whitley Bay & Tynemouth v Cannock
Brooklands Poynton v Loughborough Students
Doncaster v Liverpool Sefton
Durham University v Ben Rhydding
Investec Women’s Conference West
Isca University v Trojans
Firebrands v Buckingham
Staines v Gloucester City
Stourport v Barnes HE
Taunton Vale v Swansea City
Investec Women’s Conference East
Horsham v Ipswich
Wimbledon v Old Loughtonians
Oxford Hawks v Harleston Magpies
St Albans v Chelmsford
Bromley & Beckenham v Sevenoaks
The full fixture list for the 2012-2012 season can be found at www.englandhockey.co.uk/investechockeyleague
About Investec, title sponsor of the Investec Women’s Hockey League
Investec is an international specialist bank and asset manager that provides a diverse range of financial products and services to a select client base. The group was established in 1974 and has core activities in the UK, South Africa and Australia, employing approximately 7300 employees.
Investec focuses on delivering distinctive profitable solutions for its clients in three core areas of activity, namely Specialist Banking, Wealth & Investment and Asset Management.
Investec sponsors English Test Cricket, the Investec Derby Festival, the England & GB Women’s Hockey team, the South African Women’s Hockey team, Tottenham Hotspur in cup competitions, the Investec Tri Nations Rugby and Investec Super Rugby in New Zealand.