L1 Win 3-1 at Bowdon for 10th League Win
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies secured their tenth league win and eleventh successive regular season league win with a 3-1 win over Bowdon Hightown on Saturday.
The run started on the final day of last season when Surbiton won 4-0 at Bowdon following the previous week's goalless draw at home to Slough.
Bowdon went into Saturday's match with confidence after earning four points from their southern tour with a 2-1 win at Holcombe and a -1 draw at East Grinstead last weekend and both teams had attacking intent in the early minutes.
Xenna Hughes ran down the wing to try and get Bowdon off to a good start and Georgie Twigg ran towards the Bowdon defence before combining with Erica Sanders and Hannah Martin.
Rosie Bailey shot towards goal for Bowdon and Martin forced a save from home goalkeeper Kirsty Mackay as both defences held firm.
The breakthrough came in the fifteenth minute from Surbiton's second penalty corner, Emily Atkinson putting away a rebound after Bowdon tried to defend resolutely.
Surbiton settled down with Erica Sanders shooting past the right post but Bowdon's Samantha Mairs proved to be a handful working hard in defence and also initiating attacks as Bowdon tried to find an equaliser.
Jane Donnelly also tackled hard to try and prevent Surbiton doubling their lead.
With Surbiton still leading 1-0 at half time, the third quarter saw both teams try and attack but finding defences on top, although Bowdon went close twice with shots past the right post and narrowly shooting past the left post as the quarter came to an end.
But ironically, Surbiton doubled their lead right at the end of the quarter, Hannah Martin beating Mackay with the last action of the quarter from Surbiton's fifth penalty corner, awarded after the ball was lodged in Mackay's pads.
Bowdon pulled a goal back in the first minute of the fourth quarter, Sian French slotting the ball past Sabbie Heesh from the penalty spot to score her second penalty stroke in successive weeks, having scored in the 1-1 draw at East Grinstead.
Bowdon, needing points at the bottom of the table, battled hard, but the game was taken away from them in the 60th minute, Martin striking the killer blow from the visitors' seventh and last penalty corner.
With second placed Hampstead & Westminster due to face Holcombe at home on Sunday, Surbiton built up an eleven point lead over their nearest rivals.
East Grinstead moved to within a point of Hampstead but having played two games more after their 2-1 home win over Beeston.
Clifton Robinsons pushed Holcombe out of the playoff places with a narrow 1-0 win at the University of Birmingham.
Loughborough Students pulled level with Holcombe on points with a 2-1 home win over Buckingham.
Surbiton face the University of Birmingham on 30 November at 12 noon as part one of a doubleheader which sees the Ladies' second team play their Birmingham counterparts at 2 pm.
Surbiton won the first match 3-1 at Birmingham, former Birmingham players Holly Munro and Erica Sanders scoring along with Eloise Stenner, Catherine Ledesma scoring a last minute consolation goal for Birmingham.