L1 Visit Swansea On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Having made history last weekend by meeting Wimbledon in a league game for the first time, Surbiton Ladies travel to Wales to play Swansea for the first time in the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday (2 pm).
Surbiton visit the King George V Playing Fields to take on a Swansea squad which drew 1-1 at home to Buckingham in their opening match, but in spite of scoring in every league game this season, have lost the last four matches.
Wimbledon (4-1) and Clifton Robinsons (2-1) have both won in Wales, whilst Swansea have lost 4-2 at the University of Birmingham and 4-1 last Saturday at East Grinstead.
Jess Roe is Swansea's top scorer with two goals: a penalty corner conversion against Buckingham and a consolation goal from the penalty spot last week in West Sussex. The other four goals have been shared between Sarah Davies, Jessica Lea, Rebecca Treharne and Beth Wood.
Swansea City (as the club was known until it merged with Swansea University in 2018 to form the current Swansea club) joined the England Hockey League in 2004-05 when the league was restructured into three twelve team divisions and were members of Premier 3.
When the league was restructured again into four divisions of ten the following season, Swansea City became members of the National South Division, where they remained until the Conferences were introduced in 2008-09, competing in the Conference West.
Swansea were runners up in the Conference West in 2011-12 behind Buckingham and in 2014-15 behind Slough and remained members of the Conference West until the last season that the Conference formed the second tier in 2018-19.
In 2019-20 they were founder members of Division One North, due to a geographic anomaly and when the season was halted with one round of matches to play, Swansea were automatically promoted to an expanded Premier Division due to the playoffs being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2020-21, they started the season against the Division One South champions Wimbledon and struggled before the season was brought to a premature halt.
In 2021-22, they won their first point against Buckingham, but have battled in their following matches with very little reward.
Surbiton go to Wales unbeaten, but having lost ground on leaders Hampstead & Westminster by drawing three of their first five league games. Having drawn 1-1 at home to Wimbledon last Saturday night, Surbiton will want to get back to winning ways.
Elsewhere, Hampstead & Westminster go to Loughborough Students; second placed Wimbledon host the University of Birmingham; East Grinstead visit Holcombe and Beeston entertain Buckingham.
Clifton Robinsons are without a fixture this weekend.