L1 Host Hampstead & Westminster On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies welcome Hampstead & Westminster to Sugden Road for a key Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division match up on Saturday (push back 4.30 pm).
Surbiton have a five point lead over Hampstead going into the game and both teams are shining examples of teams going from regional league to national league.
The teams met up in 2006-07 in South Clubs' Women's Hockey League Division Two, Hampstead pipping Tulse Hill & Dulwich to promotion.
Surbiton then played Hampstead in SCWHL Division One when it was Surbiton's turn to win promotion to the Investec Women's Hockey League.
Hampstead eventually finished top of Division One in 2014-15 and missed out on promotion in 2017-18, when having won the Conference East, they finished third behind Beeston and Slough to just miss out.
Last season in 2018-19, Hampstead won the Conference East again and this time won promotion with Loughborough Students as Slough missed out on goal difference after all three teams finished on six points.
Surbiton have most recently met Hampstead in the Investec Women's Cup, Surbiton having won 7-1 in the final at Nottingham Hockey Centre in 2014.
In 2015, Surbiton won 5-0 at Paddington Recreation Ground in a second round clash and also won 4-2 at Paddington Rec in a quarter-final tie in 2018.
In their first season in the top flight, Hampstead won their first four games: 4-3 at Beeston, 3-0 at home to the University of Birmingham; 3-2 at home to Clifton Robinsons and 5-1 at Bowdon Hightown.
They dropped their first points in a 4-4 home draw with East Grinstead before getting back on the winning trail with a 1-0 victory at Loughborough Students.
In the return fixture at Clifton Robinsons, Hampstead tasted defeat for the first time in a 5-4 thriller, but last week, Hampstead beat Bowdon Hightown 2-0.
Jo Leigh is Hampstead's top scorer with seven goals with Grace Balsdon on four. Lily Owsley and Melanie Wilikinson both have three goals with Joyce Esser, Sarah Robertson and Meg Byas all having scored twice.
Jasmine Clark, Amy Askew and Hayley Turner have all found the net once as Hampstead have made their mark in the Premier Division.
Elsewhere, third placed Holcombe are at home to Bowdon Hightown; Buckingham face in form East Grinstead; Loughborough Students visit Clifton Robinsons in a mid-table clash and the University of Birmingham head to Beeston for a Midlands derby.