Hockey: Huge weekend for Hampstead & Westminster

Action from Hampstead & Westminster's clash with Slough (pic Andy Smith)

Action from Hampstead & Westminster's clash with Slough (pic Andy Smith) - Credit: Archant

Hampstead & Westminster’s men and women face a huge weekend of hockey as they chase glory at the end of their 125th anniversary season.

Hampstead & Westminster defend a corner against Slough (pic Andy Smith)

Hampstead & Westminster defend a corner against Slough (pic Andy Smith) - Credit: Archant

The men head back to the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre for the League Finals, having lost to Surbiton on shuffles in last year’s decider.

And having been pipped to the Premier Division title in the regular season, they meet Beeston in their semi-final on Saturday, with the winners meeting Surbiton or East Grinstead in Sunday’s final.

The champions qualify for Europe next season.

Meanwhile, Hampstead’s women are set to take on Loughborough in their second promotion play-off match on Saturday, before facing Stourport on Sunday.

Hampstead & Westminster's Amy Askew (pic Andy Smith)

Hampstead & Westminster's Amy Askew (pic Andy Smith) - Credit: Archant

After winning the East Conference title for the second year in a row, they travelled to Nottingham last weekedn to face Premier League strugglers Slough once again in the first round of matches.

Both teams started strongly with Hampstead & Westminster having a couple of early penalty corner opportunities to no avail.

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The Maida Vale club were unfortunate not to be rewarded for their efforts as it remained 0-0 at half time.

But Hampstead came out firing in the second half, with Amy Askew connecting on a quick free hit into the D in the 38th minute.

Slough hit back a short time later against the run of play with an unfortunate deflection off a Hampstead stick in front of the goalie.

But Hampstead continued to pile on the pressure with a number of corners and near misses.

A yellow card in the 68th minute saw Hampstead down to 10 women and a penalty corner to defend.

Slough’s straight strike beat the defence and broke the hearts of the travelling Hampstead supporters to make it 2-1 in the final minute of the game.

It was a disappointing start to the play-offs for Hampstead – coached by former Irish international Sarah Kelleher and Olympic champion Kate Richardson-Walsh – but it is still all to play for this weekend at Lee Valley.

Loughborough beat Stourport in their first match last weekend.

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