The Slazenger England Hockey League fixtures for the 2007/08 season were released today. The season will begin on 15 September when the Women’s National North and South teams take to the stage. The Premier Divisions begin on Saturday 22 September (women)
In the Women’s Premier Division, champions Leicester host Ipswich for their first game of the season on 22 September. With the league being decided by only two points over Slough in 2006/07, the tie of the division will surely be Leicester’s trip away to Slough on the last day of the season – 5 April. Poynton, who will hope their Division One goal scoring prowess will transfer to the Premier Division, will welcome the experienced Canterbury to Belle Vue as they begin their season. Meanwhile, Clifton, who regained Premier Division status at the first time of asking through the play-offs, take the long trip to Cheshire to face Bowdon Hightown.
In Women’s Division One, Reading – who regained their place in this division after their relegation in 2005/06 will hope to start well despite a scheduled tough start against Doncaster, relegated from the Premier Division, who will travel down to Sonning Lane on 22 September. University of Durham face academic rivals, University of Birmingham, to begin their Division One season. It will be an interesting contest with University of Birmingham surviving the relegation last season and University of Durham coming off the back of a convincing National North Division title, in their first season.
The Women’s National North Division welcomes four teams promoted from the Regional Leagues. Rover Oxford, who will have been surprised to find themselves in the division, begin their season by hosting Ben Rhydding on 15 September. Cambridge City, one of two Cambridge based teams to enter the Slazenger EHL this year, face a tricky first home game against last years National North runners-up, Aldridge. Sheffield Hallam, who join a select band of clubs with both Men’s and Women’s teams in the Slazenger EHL, take the trip to Liverpool Sefton to test their EHL credentials. Bedford, who return immediately to the National North Division, having lost out to Preston in the 2005-06 relegation play-offs, make their way to Bradford for the first game of the season.
Taunton Vale from the West, were the only team promoted into the Women’s National South Division, but have been offered no special treatment; beginning their fixture list away to Horsham, relegated from Division One, on 15 September.
Nick Martin, Assistant Competitions & Events Manager,
photos Janos Schmidt