L1 At Home To Hampstead & Westminster On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies complete Phase 1 of the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division when they host Hampstead & Westminster at 2 pm on Saturday.
As per league regulations, all games on the final day of Phase 1 will start at 2 pm.
Hampstead come to Sugden Road on a run of ten successive league wins, including a win in their last game of the truncated 2020-21 season. Both teams have qualified for the top six league in the New Year, but Surbiton, along with East Grinstead, will want to close the gap to three points before 2021 ends.
Surbiton are, along with Hampstead, the only unbeaten teams in the Premier Division and are currently on a four game winning streak, having won 3-1 at Holcombe and 2-1 at East Grinstead last weekend.
Hampstead started the season with a 3-1 win at Wimbledon before a 3-2 home win over East Grinstead, which was only completed after East Grinstead failed to score from a last minute penalty stroke.
A 3-1 win at Clifton Robinsons and a 1-0 win at home to a stubborn University of Birmingham squad was followed by a thrilling 4-3 win at Buckingham.
A more convincing 3-0 home win over Holcombe and a 3-2 win at Loughborough Students, together with another narrow 1-0 win at home to Beeston kept Hampstead on maximum points, with a 3-0 home win over Swansea their final action before having a bye week last weekend.
Hampstead have scored 24 goals this season with Lucy Hyams their top scorer on six. Lauren Turner is on five, with Melanie Wilkinson and Sarah Robertson both on three. Holly Hunt, Fran Tew ad Esme Burge have all contributed braces, with Emily Douglas scoring once.
Surbiton and Hampstead have met twice in the Premier Division, Surbiton winning 3-1 at Sugden Road and 3-2 at Paddington Recreation Ground in 2019-20.
But the history goes back to both clubs' South Clubs' Women's Hockey League days, when Hampstead beat Surbiton 3-2 in 2009-10 as Surbiton stuttered before clinching promotion to the England Hockey League from SCWHL Division One, and 2006-07, when Surbiton lost 4-3 as it was Hampstead's turn to win promotion from SCWHL Division Two. Both Hampstead wins were at Paddington Recreation Ground, whereas both return fixtures at Sugden Road were drawn, both Surbiton goals in a 2-2 draw in 2009 scored by future Hockeyroo, Georgie Parker.
And the teams met in the Investec Cup Final at Nottingham Hockey Centre in 2014, when Surbiton as a Premier Division team beat Hampstead, still in the SCWHL, 7-1 to complete a league and cup double in only their second ever season in the top flight.
Hampstead missed out on promotion to the England Hockey League in 2014, finishing second behind Maidenhead in SCWHL Division One, but succeeded in 2015.
Elsewhere on Saturday, with the top six teams already decided and Wimbledon having completed their fixtures last week, Beeston are at home to Loughborough Students; the University of Birmingham entertain Buckingham and Holcombe welcome Swansea to Holcombe Park.