L1 Host Beeston On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies play their first home game in 2022 when they host Beeston at Sugden Road on Saturday (push back 1.30 pm).
Surbiton's 3-1 win at Clifton Robinsons last weekend combined with Hampstead & Westminster's 2-1 defeat at Wimbledon saw a three-way tie at the top of the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division Top Six table with East Grinstead also on 27 points.
With the Premier Division having split into two, Surbiton now face a home and away programme against the other five teams who finished in the top six at the end of Phase One.
Clifton were Surbiton's first opponents and three goals in the first twelve minutes from Sophie Hamilton, Martha Le Huray and Leah Wilkinson set up the perfect start to the second half of the season.
Beeston qualified for the top six in fifth place and have already visited Sugden Road this season, Georgie Twigg and Eloise Stenner scoring in Surbiton's 2-0 win back in September.
Beeston have struggled on previous visits to Elmbridge and have only won once in November 2018 when Stenner and Bridget Kiddle mounted a comeback after Susie Catlin gave Surbiton an early lead.
In their other four games, Beeston have failed to score, having lost 2-0 twice, 3-0 once and crashed 6-0 in their relegation season of 2014-15.
Beeston have lost their last two games, both at home, and by 2-1 scorelines: to Loughborough Students in their last game of Phase One and last week against East Grinstead, Ellie Rayer scoring twice for the West Sussex club after Bea Bell gave Beeston the lead.
Sophie Robinson and Lucy Millington are Beeston's joint leading goalscorers with four goals apiece followed by Mads Newitt on two. The other seven goals have been shared between seven different players and Beeston will want to show that they can compete in the Top Six having put in the hard work to qualify.
New leaders, East Grinstead are at home to fourth-placed Wimbledon and Hampstead & Westminster, who won their first nine games before losing in succession to both Surbiton and Wimbledon are at home to Clifton Robinsons in their attempt to rediscover their winning touch.