L1 Host East Grinstead On Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies play their first home Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division of the season on Saturday when they welcome East Grinstead to Sugden Road (push back 4 pm).
The game is the first of a women's/ men's double header against the West Sussex club with the men's game starting at 6.30 pm.
Both Surbiton and East Grinstead started their seasons with a win last Saturday, Surbiton winning 5-0 at Loughborough Students after Sophie Hamilton set them on their way with a hat-trick; and East Grinstead leaving it late to claim all three points at home to the University of Birmingham, Chloe Brown's last minute penalty corner earning a come from behind 2-1 home win, Hannah Pearce putting Birmingham ahead before Courtney Hansford equalised.
Surbiton were East Grinstead's first ever Premier Division opposition in September 2015 when the teams drew 1-1 at Sugden Road. The teams also drew 1-1 a year later before Surbiton won three years in a row. The run was ended by East Grinstead's only league win in Elmbridge, where Hannah Cozens scored the only goal in October 2020.
Both teams have inflicted each other's record VWHL defeat, East Grinstead winning 6-1 at Saint Hill in March 2020 when Sophie Bray and Tess Howard each scored twice; and Surbiton winning 6-0 at Sugden Road last February, Hamilton scoring twice and Darcy Bourne in hat-trick mode with Tasmin Cookman, now at the University of New Hampshire, also scoring.
Elsewhere, Hampstead & Westminster, who are joint leaders with Surbiton after their 5-0 win over Buckingham, aim for a hat-trick of wins at Holcombe, having won 1-0 and 4-1 on their last two visits.
Clifton Robinsons, who were the early leaders after beating Holcombe 2-0 in the first match of the day, travel to newly promoted Reading, who lost narrowly, 1-0 at Wimbledon last weekend.
Buckingham will look to bounce back from their 5-0 defeat when they host Beeston, who were denied an opening day win by Merle Knobloch's late equaliser as the University of Nottingham drew 2-2 at Nottingham Hockey Centre, in what was an away match for the students.
Nottingham are at home to the University of Birmingham and will play their first top flight match outside of Nottingham Hockey Centre next weekend when they visit Sugden Road to play Surbiton.
Wimbledon are at home to Loughborough Students in a fixture which will have sad memories as last season's Phase One fixture which was scheduled to be played in Leicestershire, was postponed due to the sad death of Loughborough Coach, Andy Gibson. The match was eventually rearranged to be played at Raynes Park High School, where Wimbledon prevailed 8-0.