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Holcombe Ladies well poised to mount Investec Premier Division title challenge when season resumes, says coach Leigh Maasdorp

By Luke Cawdell

Holcombe head into the winter break with it all to play for.

Impressive recent form, coupled with a wobble from leaders Surbiton, means the sides are tied on points at the top of the Investec Women’s Premier Division.

A 3-1 win over the University of Birmingham and a home defeat for Surbiton means only goal difference separates the leading two clubs.

Holcombe Ladies signed off before the winter break with victory over University of Birmingham Picture: Steve Crispe
Holcombe Ladies signed off before the winter break with victory over University of Birmingham Picture: Steve Crispe

East Grinstead would be on the same points too had they not suffered a three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.

Holcombe coach Leigh Maasdorp said: “To be on equal points with Surbiton is a good way to go into the break, hot on their heels.

“The three teams (at the top) are pushing hard and on any given day any three could win the league.

"The second half of the season should be interesting.

“When we lost to Slough (a month ago) we were all disappointed but maybe it was what we needed. Since then everyone has stepped up a level and realised this won’t be a walk in the park.

“That’s four wins in a row now (since the Slough defeat) and although the break has come at a good time to give the girls a rest, it maybe would have been nice to continue with that momentum.”

Holcombe’s impressive run of results has come despite losing the services of Welsh midfielder Sarah Jones, missing due to a first call-up for Great Britain. She made her debut for GB in the Champions Trophy in China.

There are hopes forward Nicola White can resume her domestic and international career when the league restarts in February, having been missing long-term due to concussion. The break could also be of benefit to Harriet Pittard, who has been out with a hamstring injury.

“We have been a few short but people have stepped up,” added Maasdorp.

“I like to think this year we have got a good side and when people are away we can still play well.”

Holcombe are now preparing for their indoor Premier Division campaign which takes place over two weekends, on December 15-16 and the first weekend in January.

They return to league action in February with matches against East Grinstead and Surbiton both within the first three weeks of action.

“It is going to be an important month and important we start well,” Maasdorp added.

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