A couple of top-quality Great Britain internationals from the past stand in the way of City of Peterborough and promotion to National League Division One tomorrow (April 13).
City host Fareham at Bretton Gate (noon) as they battle to finish in the top two of a three-way tussle for promotion.
Fareham beat Preston 3-1 in their first play-off match last weekend so a draw would ensure they go up.
Whatever happens to City on Saturday they will have another shot at glory when travelling to Preston for their final tie on April 28.
“Fareham’s big name players are Niall Stott and Richard Mantell who have multiple caps for Great Britain, Scotland and England,” City manager Graham Finding said. “They bring a wealth of experience to the side and it’s not a coincidence Fareham’s results have improved significantly since Mantell joined them at Christmas.
“Mantell is a former England vice-captain, short corner specialist and renowned passer/distributor.
“He came out of retirement this season after pretty much winning everything going in a long career at Reading.
“A draw would do Fareham, but we realistically need to win ahead of a tough game at Preston.”
City are at full strength for a game that seems sure to be played in front of a huge crowd as it takes place in the middle of the popular, and always well-attended, Roger Brummitt mixed hockey tournament.
It’s a big day for City’s Joe Finding who spent a season with Fareham when at university.
Unfortunately Fareham’s gifted attacking player Alex Boxall, who started his hockey life in City’s junior programme, is on holiday.
A draw tomorrow would mean a point apiece, but there would also be a penalty shuttle competition to determine what could be a vital bonus point.
City finished seventh in the East Conference of the National League. Fareham and Preston finished in similar positions in the West and North Conferences respectively.
The National League is being restructured next season to include an extra tier of league action.
City’s trip to Preston is complicated by a home English Hockey Cup semi-final at home to North Conference champions Bowden 24 hours earlier on Saturday, April 27 (4pm start). It’s City best ever run in the competition.
*City of Peterborough Hockey Club have raised £162,000 to re-surface their Bretton Gate pitch.
The old pitch will be ripped up on April 29 with work expected to take upto six weeks.
Members donated and loaned money to reach the target and the club are also grateful to the £50,000 grant they received from the Mick George Community Fund.
To help repay the loans City are selling seat sponsorship. Further details from Jane Wilson at email@example.com.
City’s current surface is regarded as ‘slow’ by National League opponents.