Maw’s eyes now re­vert back to the main prize

The Hockey Paper - - INVESTEC WOMEN’S CUP - By Ned Holmes

THE magic of a cup semi­fi­nal will have taken Bow­don Hightown’s mind off the daunt­ing prospect of a rel­e­ga­tion play-off – only briefly.

But now it is back to busi­ness for the side that have never slipped out of English hockey’s top flight since its in­cep­tion.

And team man­ager Jon Maw is aim­ing for a fresh start dur­ing the com­ing weeks, with his charges tasked with staving off the chal­lenge of lo­cal ri­vals Brook­lands Poyn­ton, Buck­ing­ham and Wim­ble­don in the pro­mo­tion tour­na­ment.

“The girls are des­per­ate to re­tain Premier League sta­tus,” he said. “They’re go­ing to be work­ing hard, like a pre-sea­son al­most, in the build up to those play­offs.

“I’m con­fi­dent. I’d still say that the last three or four re­sults to­wards the end of league haven’t flat­tered us what­so­ever. We have still been com­pet­i­tive in games.

“We’re not an easy team to break down, and when we put things to­gether on our day we can pro­duce some re­ally good at­tack­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We’re proud of the fact that Bow­don Hightown has been in the Premier League since its in­cep­tion and we’ll do ev­ery­thing we can to main­tain that sta­tus.

“We’ll do our re­search and we’ll have a dif­fer­ent ap­proach for some of those teams that we feel will bring us suc­cess.

“We’re al­ways built around a strong de­fence and the team be­ing re­silient and work­ing hard for each other.”

Young­sters Lily Wol­sten­holme and Lau­ren Hunt, just 17 and 18 re­spec­tively, have been shin­ing lights for Hightown in re­cent weeks de­spite the side’s dis­mal run of six de­feats.

And Maw hopes that the play-off pres­sure cooker can in­spire them to even greater heights in Bow­don’s bid for sur­vival.

He added: “They’ve both taken their op­por­tu­ni­ties and ran with them.

“They re­ally are push­ing for­ward as play­ers, and will be a big as­set to us go­ing into those play­off games be­cause they’re both in great form at the mo­ment.”

Emma McCabe in ac­tion for Bow­don

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