L1 Go Top Of IWHL Premier Division
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies are two points clear at the top of the Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division after they won 2-0 at home to Bowdon Hightown and Hampstead could only draw 4-4 at home to bottom club, East Grinstead.
The floodlights were needed from the start on a miserable wet day at Sugden Road, where Surbiton came out on top on what was to prove a scrappy match.
Both sides struggled with the conditions at the start of the game, but the deadlock was broken in the seventh minute when Erica Sanders' wicked deflection deceived Bowdon goalkeeper Kirsty Mackay.
The second goal came from the penalty spot after Hannah Martin was fouled in the circle. Giselle Ansley calmly slotted the ball past Mackay and against the backboard in the 20th minute.
That was the end of the scoring, mainly due to a combination of Bowdon defence and the ball either not running for the Surbiton forwards or a failure to connect with the ball in the circle.
Surbiton also forced seven penalty corners but failed to convert, the final award with twelve minutes to play setting up a Bowdon breakaway attack after the ball sped out the circle but although the visitors attached down the left wing, the ball ended up over Surbiton's backline.
In the second half, Maddie Goodman and Jane Donnelly thwarted Georgie Twigg and Jenna Woolven; Eloise Stenner had a battle with Bowdon's Julie Whiting and Charlene Mason and Lucy Tennant were also needed in defence as the game gradually fizzled out towards a 2-0 home win.
Hampstead trailed East Grinstead 3-0 but fought back to draw 4-4 after East Grinstead retook the lead at 4-3. Last season's IWHL Conference East champions dropped their first ever league points in the top flight.
Buckingham stayed four points behind Surbiton following their 3-1 home win over Loughborough Students. The University of Birmingham leapfrogged Holcombe into fourth place after beating the Kent club 3-1 for their second successive win.
Beeston lifted themselves off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 win at Clifton Robinsons to earn their first points of the season.
Surbiton visit Holcombe on 19 October (push back 4.30 pm).