L1 Host Loughborough On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Storm Dennis permitting, the Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division is due to resume on Saturday (15 February) when Surbiton are at home to Loughborough Students at Sugden Road (push back 12 noon).
During the mid-season break, Buckingham won 3-2 at Holcombe in a rearranged match on 15 December after the first match was abandoned at half time due to a frozen pitch.
And last Saturday, Bowdon Hightown beat Beeston 2-1 in the other game postponed on 30 November due to a frozen pitch. The victory lifted the division's most northerly club off the bottom of the table with the University of Birmingham replacing them in the basement.
With East Grinstead currently in the Hague taking part in European indoor hockey there are only four fixtures scheduled this weekend, with the West Sussex club having already played the University of Birmingham.
Tomorrow's fixture in Elmbridge is the return fixture from the first day of the season when Surbiton won 3-2 at Loughborough.
But for Lucy Millington's missed penalty stroke, newly promoted Loughborough could have earned a much deserved draw against the reigning champions.
Instead, after going 2-0 down following Georgie Twigg's opener in the tenth minute and Alice Sharp's follow-up goal three minutes later, Loughborough fought back to level matters with goals from former Surbiton player, Izzy Petter on her Loughborough debut and Beth Peers in the 17th and 19th minutes.
Emily Defroand's 40th minute strike earned the points for Surbiton but Loughborough did enough to show that they were good enough for the top flight.
Loughborough are sixth, having won 5-1 at East Grinstead, consecutive 1-0 wins at Beeston and at home to the University of Birmingham and 2-1 at home to Buckingham.
Defeats at Bowdon Hightown (1-2), at Buckingham (1-3), at home to Hampstead & Westminster (0-1), at Clifton Robinsons (2-3) and at Hampstead & Westminster (0-3) have restricted their progress but a 1-1 draw at Holcombe and a 2-2 draw at home to Clifton Robinsons in their last match of 2019 means that they go into the last third of the season three points off a playoff place.
Millington is Loughborough's leading goalscorer with five goals, closely followed by Beth Peers on three. Sophie Byrne and Petter each have scored twice with Maria Andrews, Madeleine Pearce, Alice Rolfe, Lizzie Neal and Jen Park all having found the net once.
Meanwhile Surbiton have all but mathematically booked their place in the end of season championships after winning eleven of their first twelve games, only dropping points in a 1-1 draw at home to the University of Birmingham at the end of November.
Elsewhere, Beeston are at home to Clifton Robinsons; Bowdon Hightown host Holcombe and Hampstead & Westminster welcome Buckingham to London.