L1 Visit Clifton Robinsons on Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies start their 2021-22 Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division season when they visit Clifton Robinsons on Saturday (2 pm at Coombe Dingle Sports Complex).
After the 2020-21 season was curtailed due to COVID-19 and a summer of international hockey containing the EuroHockey Championships and the Tokyo Olympics, the focus returns to domestic hockey.
Surbiton have won on their last seven visits to Bristol, but it was Clifton Robinsons who were victorious when the teams last met at Sugden Road in March 2020, Kathryn Lane scoring the only goal of the game.
It was the first time in sixteen regular season meetings that Clifton had beaten Surbiton and the Bristol club will want to break Surbiton's hold over Coombe Dingle on Saturday.
Clifton visited Surbiton on the opening day of the 2013-14 season, but an unfortunate admin error led to Helena Faust, Clifton's scorer being deemed to be incorrectly registered with Clifton having a point deducted. Former Clifton player, Georgie Twigg had opened the scoring and Twigg has scored on Surbiton's last three visits to Coombe Dingle, including scoring the winning goal in October 2019.
With Giselle Ansley and Hannah Martin now in the Netherlands and Emily Atkinson having retired, Surbiton have signed Charlotte Daly and Leah Wilkinson from Holcombe, Freya Bull from the University of Birmingham and Sophie Hamilton, another former Clifton player with playing experience at the University of Connecticut.
Darcy Bourne has also returned from Duke University.
Pip Stewart has joined Clifton from the University of Birmingham.
Elsewhere, East Grinstead, the Premier Division leaders when last season ended, are at home to Loughborough Students; Beeston host Holcombe; Wimbledon entertain Hampstead & Westminster in a London derby and Swansea, who struggled in their first-ever season in the top flight, are at home to former Conference West rivals, Buckingham.