L1 Host Beeston On Sunday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies can clinch a place in Europe on Sunday afternoon if they beat Beeston or second-placed Wimbledon lose at home to Hampstead & Westminster in the second game of the weekend double header programme.
Surbiton go into the match (push back 2.30 pm) with a five point lead over Wimbledon, 2-1 home winners over Beeston on Saturday. Hannah Grieve, who scored Beeston's goal in their 3-1 home defeat to Surbiton in November, was on target again after Olivia Chilton and Fiona Burnet put Wimbledon 2-0 ahead.
Beeston are fifth but building for the future and showed their potential when they won 1-0 at Hampstead & Westminster last weekend. This will be Beeston's third successive away match in London/ Surrey and they have battled back from a 7-1 home thrashing by East Grinstead in their first match of 2023.
Beeston drew 1-1 on their last visit to Sugden Road in February 2022 before Surbiton also won 7-1 at Nottingham Hockey Centre a month later on a day when Surbiton were simply just too good for a Beeston side which was much better than the score suggested.
As with Clifton Robinsons, Surbiton's opponents on Saturday, Beeston's only league victory against Surbiton came at Sugden Road, current Surbiton player Eloise Stenner helping the Nottingham club to a 2-1 win in November 2018. Stenner, along with former Surbiton player, Erica Sanders, now at Repton, have both scored for Surbiton and Beeston in this fixture and share the initials "ES"!
Otherwise, Surbiton have won the other four meetings at Sugden Road and have been more dominant at Nottingham Hockey Centre, winning on all six visits.
Lauren Burrell, who scored the winning goal at Hampstead is Beeston's leading goalscorer this season with seven goals and is supported by Cerys Miller and Lucy Millington who are both on three.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Clifton Robinsons travel to East Grinstead.
In the Lower Six, the battle for the top two places will intensify as leaders Loughborough Students, who lost to bottom club Buckingham on Saturday, are at home to the University of Birmingham who go into the match just a point behind the leaders.
Reading and the University of Nottingham are also a single point behind Loughborough. Reading are at home to Buckingham and Nottingham travel to Holcombe knowing that the Kent club can close to within a point of Nottingham with a home victory.