Hampstead ‘confident’ for promotion play-offs
PUBLISHED: 09:30 19 April 2018
Hampstead & Westminster women’s captain Annebeth Wijtenburg says her side are confident ahead of their first Premier League play-off match this weekend.
Having won the Conference East title with an unbeaten record of 17 wins and one draw, Hampstead face Slough in Nottingham on Sunday (2.30pm).
And they travel to the University of Birmingham the following weekend to take on Beeston (April 28, 2.15pm) and Stourport (April 29, 1.15pm), bidding to earn promotion to the top flight.
Wijtenburg said: “We’re feeling really good, very excited and positive. It’s the first time for the club that the women have been in this position.
“It’s quite an achievement to be there and we’re confident of our play. We’ve got a strong team, a lot of talent, and it’s about turning up on the day and doing our bits.”
Hampstead certainly had little problem doing that during the regular league season, with only Wimbledon managing to avoid defeat against them in a 1-1 draw in February as they became champions.
Wijtenburg added: “It was great reward for a great season, building up from the last few years.
“We attracted a few key players, three or four, and that really helped drive the team. It’s down to us being a close-knit group of girls, who enjoy playing with each other and make that connection.”
Slough finished ninth in the Premier Division this season, with only four wins from 18 outings, and Wijtenburg feels the fixture list could suit her side.
“We couldn’t play all three games in one weekend and Slough should be the toughest, being in the Premier,” she added.
“I’m sure they will feel confident playing in the league above us, but we’ve got that winning mentality.
“They have not had the best of seasons and might be looking to do things a little bit different, wheras we are looking to continue what we’ve been doing and step up.
“We’ve got to make sure we get set up for the weekend.”
Hampstead & Westminster’s men are continuing their preparations for their second trip to the league finals weekend at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.
They play Wimbledon on April 28 (10.30am) for a place in the final against Beeston or Surbiton the next day and the chance to qualify for Europe next season.