Bedford Hockey Club ladies 1s head into their second league game of the new Investec Women’s hockey league East Conference season with their first away trip to face Sevenoaks HC.
Bedford make just the one change to their squad from Saturdays 2-1 opening day defeat against Horsham with 17-year-old Louise Beechener coming in to make her competitive first team and National League debut in place of Kelly Bingham.
Beechener who studies at Bedford Girls School was awarded the club’s young player of the year award last season putting in a number of excellent performances to help the second team to promotion and the TXT Drive U18s academy into the last 16 for the first time.
She has been training with the first team squad over the summer and was awarded player sponsorship from Core Performance Cross Fit, who ran some of the ladies pre-season training over the summer and were clearly very impressed by Louise’s fitness levels and superb attitude in the sessions.
Sevenoaks will pose a significant threat on Saturday and regularly finish in the top four in the league under the guidance of player coach and former England international Cathy Gilliat-Smith. #
During her international career Gilliat-Smith won two bronze medals at the Eurohockey Nations Championships in Dublin (2005) and in Manchester (2007) and was also in the squad that won a bronze medal in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
Sevenoaks also have one of the league’s most potent goalscorers in their ranks in the form of Jet Van Zalen so Bedford will need to be on their game defensively in order to get a result but go into the game in confident spirits with Emma Pinny and Rachel Jackson the Bedford central defensive pairing, both in excellent form.
Saturday also sees the start of the league season for the rest of the ladies section with the seconds facing Letchworth now in East Division One after back to back promotions.
The thirds are seeking a top four finish in the Five Counties Premier League and host Stevenage at 2.30pm.
The fourths host Saffron Walden whilst the fifths face a trip to Welwyn. Visit www.bedfordhockeyclub.com for all results and information.