The fixtures for the 2008-09 season of the Slazenger EHL have now been released with the first matches taking place on Saturday 27 September.
Women’s Premier Division new-girls, Trojans, face a baptism of fire in their first game against Slough – who won the league last season for the first time since 2002/03 – away. The Women’s Premier Division may also be set for a fire cracker of a finale with present champions Slough hosting rivals Leicester, holders of three of the last four Premier Division titles. Leicester will be hoping to make a greater impact on the division in 2008-09 having been the hardest hit side by their GB internationals absence last season; they travel to Kent to play Canterbury to start the season. Bowdon Hightown start their campaign by travellingl to Greater Manchester for a local derby against Poynton, who avoided the relegation play-offs on the final day of the 2007-08 season. Bowdon Hightown finish their season in the same fashion as Leicester began it, at Polo Farm, against Canterbury.
Sunderland, second placed in Women’s Division One 2007-08, and losers against Chelmsford in the Promotion/Relegation Play-offs, start their campaign in Women’s Conference North away at Bradford, and finish the season against fierce North East rivals Durham University. Loughborough Students host Ben Rhydding, whilst fellow academics Durham University host Belper. The newly merged Beeston – formerly Nottingham Highfields – begin their season away at Whitley Bay and Tynemouth; who themselves had merged at the start of the 2007-08 season.
Southgate, who capped a fantastic season for the London club by qualifying into the Slazenger EHL through the EHL Qualifying Tournament, start the season with the daunting task of playing host to Old Loughtonians, relegated from the Premier Division, in Women’s Conference East. Old Loughtonians finish their season away at St Albans. Horsham, who retained their Slazenger EHL status through the EHL Qualifying Tournament, host Barnes HE on the first day of the season. Staines, winners of the National South Division also compete in the Women’s Conference East, they travel, away to St Albans to start the season, and to Horsham to draw it to a close.
Cannock, who won the Women’s National North Division by 18 points, will be challenging for the Women’s Conference West title in 2008-09, they face a tough first challenge against Sutton Coldfield on the first day of the season at home, and host Rover Oxford at the cessation of the season. University of Birmingham, the only other side from last season’s Division One, start the season at home to Exe.
– but the sailors praise the new boats