L1 Host Buckingham On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies return to domestic action on Saturday when they welcome Buckingham to Sugden Road for a Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division match (push back 1.30pm).
Having lost 2-0 to UHC Hamburg in the Euro Hockey League Ranking Cup final in Germany last weekend, Surbiton turn their attention to resuming their league campaign on more familiar ground.
Both Surbiton and Buckingham have risen to the national league via the South Clubs' Women's Hockey League and met in Division Two in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Buckingham dominated those four clashes winning three and losing one, winning promotion to Division One by winning all eighteen games in 2007-08, the final victory 5-2 at Surbiton.
However, it was Surbiton who reached the Premier Division first with the teams not destined to meet at Conference level with Surbiton in the Conference East and Buckingham in the Conference West.
Both teams won their conferences in the 2011-12 season and met in the first match of the Promotion Tournament at Bisham Abbey, where Buckingham won 2-1.
But results didn't go Buckingham's way and a 3-3 draw with Slough and a 5-2 victory over Beeston at Reading saw Surbiton become the only team to be promoted via the Promotion Tournament with four points.
Surbiton and Buckingham finally met in the top flight in 2014-15 and in six visits to Sugden Road, Buckingham have only won once, in November 2017 when goals from Kitty Higgins and Lauren Thomas gave them a 2-1 win.
Otherwise, Surbiton have won on the other five occasions, whilst at Stowe School, Buckingham have won twice in five meetings, including a last gasp 1-0 win in Mar 2018 when Abbie Brant scored.
Surbiton beat Buckingham 3-0 on opening day at Sugden Road last season, Lottie Ross scoring twice with Eloise Stenner also on target.
This season, Buckingham come to Sugden Road in second place after a 1-1 draw at Swansea, a 1-1 draw at home to Clifton Robinsons and a 1-0 home win over Loughborough Students.
Surbiton started with a 2-2 draw at Clifton Robinsons and followed up with a 2-0 home win over Beeston before their trip to Germany.
Jo Day, Natasha James and Lauren Thomas have scored for Buckingham this season, whilst Stenner is Surbiton's leading goalscorer with two goals with Georgie Twigg and Alice Wills having scored once each.
Elsewhere, leaders Hampstead & Westminster are at home to the University of Birmingham; East Grinstead, who were playing in Lille, France last weekend travel to Beeston; Holcombe entertain Clifton Robinsons and Wimbledon cross the Welsh border to travel to Swansea.
Loughborough Students do not have a fixture this weekend.