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L1 Host Reading On Saturday


28th October 2022

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Ladies will need to bounce back from last week's 2-1 defeat at Wimbledon when they host Reading at Sugden Road on Saturday (push back 4 pm).

Surbiton welcome Reading to Elmbridge for the first time since October 2016, when Giselle Ansley's goal was enough to give Surbiton a 1-0 victory. Surbiton did the double over the Berkshire club, also winning 1-0 at Sonning Lane in March 2017 when it was Robyn Collins' turn to be their heroine.

Amazingly, in five previous meetings at Sugden Road, Reading have failed to score on four occasions, their only goals coming in a 2-1 win in October 2013. Reading have also failed to score in their last four home games against Surbiton, Alex Danson, who scored along with Rebecca Halle in the 2-1 win, rescuing a point in February 2013 in a 1-1 draw.

One of those Surbiton clean sheets came in their first ever Premier Division match in September 2012 when Surbiton won 4-0.

But although Reading have had a barren spell in the regular season, on the two occasions the clubs met in the EHL Championships, Reading scored on both occasions. Dirkie Chamberlain's goal in the 2014 semi-final was but a consolation as Surbiton won 4-1 at Sonning Lane on the way to their maiden league title.

But a year later, again in the semi-final, Reading came from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw before Surbiton prevailed 4-2 in the shootout at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Reading were in the second tier for five seasons following their relegation in 2016-17, finishing as runners-up behind Stourport in the Conference West in 2018; sixth in the Conference West in 2019 and runners-up behind Wimbledon in the first season of Division One South in 2020. After the 2021 season was ultimately declared null and void, Reading finally fought their way back to the top flight as Division One South champions in 2022, six points ahead of runners-up, Sevenoaks.

Reading started the 2022-23 season with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Wimbledon before going down 2-1 in their home opener to Clifton Robinsons. A third successive defeat , 3-1 at Beeston has been followed by a goalless draw at home to Holcombe and a 4-1 home in over the University of Birmingham last Saturday.

Mia Moore's double against the West Midlands students has installed her as Reading's leading goalscorer with two goals, with former Surbiton player, Lizzie Gittens, Georgia Hopkins, Star Horlock and Phoebe Nixon all scoring once.

Surbiton lead Wimbledon by a point at the top of the Premier Division table. Wimbledon head to Buckingham for the first time and with the match starting at noon, Wimbledon can go top with a win, whilst Buckingham will be looking for their first points of the season.

Clifton Robinsons and Beeston are both two points behind Surbiton. Clifton go to Loughborough Students, where they drew 2-2 in 2019, but won a 5-4 thriller in Bristol a year ago. Loughborough have drawn twice this season and will want a positive result to try and pull away from the bottom of the table.

Beeston are at home to the University of Birmingham in a fixture which saw a goalless draw when the teams last met in Nottingham in October 2020.

Hampstead & Westminster and East Grinstead are both in mid-table. Hampstead play the University of Nottingham for the first time in the national league and East Grinstead host Holcombe, who lost 2-0 in the club's only meeting last season, twelve months ago.