SLOUGH women are hoping history will repeat itself as they battle to stay in the top flight of the Investec Hockey League, writes Dave Wright.

For the second year running they find themselves in the four-team play-offs that decides who goes down from the Premier Division and who comes up from the three Conference divisions.

Their hopes of climbing out of trouble ended on Saturday after they lost 3-2 to Buckingham, while fellow strugglers University of Birmingham secured three points with a 2-1 win over Beeston.

The Pink and Blacks found themselves in a similar position 12 months ago, but survived thanks to finishing second in the tournament that is played over two weekends.

They could well do so again this time around, particularly if they reproduce the form they showed for much of their last game at Upton Court Park.

Kali Takher’s side fell behind to a 28th-minute penalty corner goal

from Lauren Thomas, but drew level through Dilly Newton, also from a corner, on the stroke of half-time.

The goal lifted the hosts and they started the second half by forcing

two corners, the second of which saw Laura Bailey fire her side ahead.

Slough continued to produce some excellent hockey and went close to increasing their lead through Camila Diaz Guzman.

They were still ahead with three minutes remaining and looked set to record only their third win in 18 games, but it was not to be as the visitors plucked victory from the jaw of defeat.

Keeper Asha Tranquille-Day had saved a penalty stroke before beaten by Phoebe Richards in the 67th minute, and shortly afterwards Lottie Porter netted Buckingham’s winner from another penalty stroke.

It was a game Slough did not deserve to lose and they can approach the play-offs with confidence.

Like last year, the Pink and Blacks will be facing Hampstead &

Westminster and Stourport, and they finished above both of them so

will be hoping to do so again this time around.

First up are Conference East champions Hampstead & Westminster at Nottingham Hockey Centre this Sunday (1.15pm), followed by

West winners Stourport at Lee Valley on April 13 and North title holders Loughborough Students the day after at 11.30am.