L1 Visit Hampstead On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies, having clinched their fifth top place finish in six seasons last weekend, travel to second-placed Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday.
Push back at Paddington Recreation Ground will be at 1.30 pm.
The history between the clubs goes back to the last decade when they were both in the South Clubs' Women's Hockey League, but since 2006-07 when Hampstead were promoted to SCWHL Division One, both clubs have worked their way up to the top flight of English Hockey.
In 2014 when Surbiton beat Hampstead 7-1 in the Investec Women's Cup final, Surbiton won the first of their six IWHL titles whilst Hampstead finished second in SCWHL Division One behind Maidenhead.
Hampstead finally won promotion a year later before spending four seasons in the Investec Women's Hockey League Conference East and winning promotion to the Premier Division last season.
Hampstead won their first four games, 4-1 at Beeston; 3-0 at home to the University of Birmingham; 3-2 at home to Clifton Robinsons and 5-1 at Bowdon Hightown.
A 4-4 home draw with East Grinstead was followed by a narrow 1-0 win at Loughborough Students. Their visit to Clifton Robinsons saw their first defeat with a 5-4 scoreline but they bounced back with a 2-0 home win against Clifton Robinsons.
Surbiton then beat Hampstead 3-1, Erica Sanders scoring twice and Giselle Ansley putting Surbiton 3-0 up before Lily Owsley scored what turned out to be a consolation goal.
A 7-1 home thrashing of Holcombe was the start of a three game winning run, including a 3-0 victory over Loughborough and a 3-1 win at Birmingham.
They suffered their first home defeat when Buckingham came away with a 3-1 win, and in last weekend's double header, a 4-1 win at Holcombe on Saturday then saw them lose 2-1 at in form East Grinstead.
Jo Leigh is Hampstead's top scorer with ten goals with Lily Owsley close behind on seven. Joyce Esser is on six with Fran Tew and Grace Balsdon both scoring four. In all Hampstead have had thirteen goalscorers this season sharing 46 goals between them.
Elsewhere, Bowdon Hightown could lose their ever present status as a member of the Premier Division by suffering relegation if they lose at home to the University of Birmingham and Beeston earn at least a point at Buckingham.
East Grinstead can move up to second if Hampstead slip up against Surbiton, and the West Sussex will want to make amends for their 5-1 home defeat to Loughborough earlier this season.
Clifton Robinsons and Holcombe are among the clubs below the playoff places who can mathematically end up in ninth place and they meet in Kent.