L1 Down To Third After East Grinstead Defeat
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies dropped to third in the Women's Hockey League Premier Division following their 1-0 home defeat to East Grinstead on Saturday.
East Grinstead join Loughborough Students, 2-0 winners over Buckingham as joint leaders with both teams boasting identical records.
However, the game nearly didn't go ahead after drama on Friday afternoon due to electrical problems. Manager, Ann Bedford arranged for a generator to be installed to ensure that both the ladies' and men's matches were not postponed.
East Grinstead had not won at Sugden Road in five visits, having drawn the first two and lost the next three, but won at the sixth attempt to follow on from last season's 6-1 win at Saint Hill on the last day of the season.
East Grinstead were the better team in the first half and had three chances to take the lead from a penalty corner in the first twelve minutes. Amy Costello twice saw the penalty corner retaken before former Surbiton player Chloe Palmer, who scored for Surbiton when the teams first met in 2015, had a shot saved before Surbiton mounted a counter attack which came to nothing.
On the quarter-hour, Surbiton's Corinne Zanolli had a shot which was defended past the left post for a 23 metre restart.
Palmer's attack set up a shot for Sophie Bray in the second quarter and Bray and Laura Unsworth played a one-two passing move, but defences remained on top.
The week before, East Grinstead had fallen behind just before half time and Surbiton had a penalty corner opportunity at the end of the first half after Harriet Mitchell deflected the ball dangerously with her stick, but the visitors held out to keep the half time score goalless.
in the second half, both teams sent passes across the circle but with nobody able to get a touch the ball went harmlessly over the far touchline causing frustration.
The deciding goal came in the 56th minute, Hannah Cozens finishing off East Grinstead's sixth penalty corner as Surbiton conceded their first goal this season after 266 minutes.
As time started to run out, Surbiton tried to hurry the ball out of defence, but Bray calmly carried the ball into the Surbiton 23 to use up precious seconds before the final whistle blew.
Surbiton are likely to drop further down the table next week as they have their bye week during which they were due to compete in the first Women's Euro Hockey League before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Clifton Robinsons, Hampstead & Westminster and Wimbledon are all a point behind Surbiton. Clifton won 3-0 at Swansea and Hampstead won 3-1 at Wimbledon.
The remaining match between the University of Birmingham and Beeston ended in a goalless draw.