L1 Open Up Eight Point Lead After 3-1 Win Over Hampstead
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies extended their lead at the top of the Investec Women's Hockey Premier Division to eight points after a 3-1 win over Hampstead & Westminster at Sugden Road on Saturday evening.
In front of a large crowd, Surbiton took the lead in the ninth minute, Erica Sanders extending her scoring run to five games by converting Surbiton's first penalty corner of the match.
Five minutes later, Robyn Collins' shot went wide of the right post from the hosts' third penalty corner before Hampstead attacked and sent an angled shot past Sabbie Heesh's left post.
Heesh saved from Hampstead's first penalty corner in the 21st minute and at the end of the first half, Surbiton had to defend a second award before they could go into the break with their 1-0 lead intact.
Surbiton needed a second goal because Hampstead posed a constant threat and it came in the 44th minute, Giselle Ansley's drag-flick beating Rochelle Gianfrancesco in the Hampstead goal.
In the 50th minute, Darcy Bourne set up a scoring chance for Sanders and although the first shot was saved by Gianfrancesco, Sanders put away the rebound to give Surbiton a commanding 3-0 lead in the top of the table clash.
Hampstead had scored in every game of their top flight debut season and they kept the record going in the 51st minute when Lily Owsley finished off Hampstead's third penalty corner.
Hampstead will be rueing their failure to only convert one of eight penalty corners as one of the key reasons why they suffered only their second defeat of the season after going down 5-4 at Clifton Robinsons.
With maximum points at the halfway point of the regular season, Surbiton not only lead second placed Hampstead by eight points but lead East Grinstead in third by thirteen points after the West Sussex club won 4-1 at Buckingham.
Holcombe lost ground with a 2-1 defeat at home to Bowdon Hightown while the University of Birmingham lost 3-1 at Beeston.
Clifton Robinsons inconsistent form continued as they followed up last week's 4-0 defeat at East Grinstead with a 3-2 home win over Loughborough Students.
Next week, Surbiton travel to Bowdon Hightown, but before then, Bowdon visit East Grinstead on Sunday (push back 12.30).