WOMENS HOCKEY Clifton Robinsons team to beat

west clubs womens hockey league actionThe 2017-18 West Clubs Women’s Hockey League season starts today and once again Clifton Robinsons 2s will be the team to beat.

The Bristol side – whose first team are a national league premier fixture – only lost twice last season and topped the West Clubs League by four points from Team Bath Buccaneers.

England Hockey League rules mean that only one club can be represented in the national leagues so Bath Buccs – who finished eight points clear of third placed Isca 2s – were promoted.

Plymouth Marjon – now coached by former Wales international Clive O’Sullivan – face the toughest start to the new women’s regional season… at Clifton at 1330 today.

Plymouth finished seventh in the regional top 12 last term and will cause one of the upsets of the season if they can win at Clifton on day one.

Exeter-based Exe and Bristol’s Firebrands will be seeking to make an immediate return to the England Hockey League and then consolidate in the national conference.

Exe, who have yo-yoed between WCWHL and EHL, start against up-and-coming Devon neighbours Teign, who pipped Plymouth University to the Premier 2B title last term.

Teign have made steady, patient progress up through the divisions and will be aiming, first and foremost, to guarantee their stay in the top regional flight is longer than their first season in Premier 1.

It’s a testing division for newcomers, as Teign and Premier 2A champions Newent, from Gloucestershire, are about to find out.

Bristol University, Cheltenham and Taunton Vale have all spent time in the national league and will vie with Exe and Firebrands to regain that prestigious EHL status, especially given the boom time for women’s hockey in this country.

That makes the opening day Firebrands versus Taunton Vale clash at Failand, Bristol (1430) my match-to-watch.

Other opening day #WCWHL Premier 1 fixtures

Bristol University vs Cheltenham 1100 Coombe Dingle Sports Complex BRISTOL

Clifton Robinsons 2s vs Plymouth Marjon at Badminton School BRISTOL

Exe vs Teign 1100 St Peter's School EXETER

Isca 2 vs Lydney 1200 University of EXETER

Newent vs Yate 1200 NEWENT Community School

special note to clubs will add links to your websites facebook pages and twitter feeds over coming weeks so keep eye out for them - already posted links on facebook

• where to see/support today's 56 WEST CLUBS WOMENS HOCKEY LEAGUE opening games and next Saturday's full fixtures list




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