L1 At Home To Beeston on Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies play their first Vitality Women's Hockey League home game on Saturday when they welcome Beeston to Sugden Road (push back 1.30 pm).
Surbiton began the 2021-22 campaign with a 2-2 draw at Clifton Robinsons last Saturday, Alice Wills and Eloise Stenner salvaging a point in response to Catherine Macaulay's brace for the Bristol club.
Stenner is a former Beeston player and played a key part in Beeston's only league win in Elmbridge in November 2018, scoring the first goal in a 2-1 victory. Bridget Kiddle scored the second, both goals coming after Susie Catlin had put Surbiton ahead in the third minute.
Otherwise, Beeston have struggled in their three other league visits, going down 2-0 in their first-ever season in the top flight in 2013-14 and 6-0 in a disappointing 2014-15 season which saw the Nottingham club relegated after two seasons.
Their victory came in their first season back after promotion, but form returned to previous levels when Beeston lost 3-0 just over two years ago in September 2019.
The teams didn't get a chance to play each other in the shortened 2020-21 season.
Surbiton have won on all four visits to Nottingham Hockey Centre and battled with Beeston at Reading in 2011-12 in the final match of the Promotion Tournament, Surbiton winning 5-2 to reach the Premier Division for the first time.
Beeston come to Sugden Road on the back of a 2-1 home win over Holcombe, after losing all six previous meetings. When Candice Manuel put Holcombe ahead, it seemed like business as usual, but an equaliser from Nadia Benallal and a late penalty stroke from Lucy Millington earned Beeston all three points.
Entry is £6 for adults with no charge for Under-18s.
Elsewhere, East Grinstead will defend their 22 game unbeaten record when they visit Hampstead & Westminster. East Grinstead beat Loughborough Students 4-1 and Hampstead won 3-1 at Wimbledon.
Loughborough host Wimbledon as both teams look to kick start their seasons.
The University of Birmingham start their campaign after receiving a bye in week one, at Holcombe.
Buckingham, who drew 1-1 at Swansea last week, host Clifton Robinsons.
It is Swansea's turn to have a bye as under normal circumstances they would have been competing in Europe, but in line with some other British clubs, they decided to withdraw.