L1 Super Sixes Relegation Battle Goes Down To The Wire
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies' battle to avoid relegation from the Super Sixes Premier Division will go to the final day as two of the bottom three teams will be relegated.
In a quirk of fate, the last day's fixtures see the top three teams; the middle three teams and the bottom three teams all play in three team round-robins to sort out which four teams will qualify for finals day at the Copper Box on 2 February and which two teams will be playing in Division One next season.
Surbiton play bottom club Clifton Robinsons at 9 am and then face Leicester in a 12 noon showdown.
Clifton have lost all six games so far whilst Surbiton and Leicester have one point each, having both broken their duck on the third day of competition.
Surbiton drew 2-2 with Bowdon Hightown after trailing 1-0 with ten minutes to play, Sally Walton having opened the scoring in the third minute.
Erica Sanders levelled in the 31st minute, but Bowdon seemed to have snatched the win when Walton scored from the penalty spot with just two minutes to play, but Eloise Stenner equalised for a second time to give Surbiton what could prove to be a vital point.
Leicester drew 2-2 with Slough before coming close to salvaging at least a draw with Midlands rivals, Sutton Coldfield before the newly promoted club pulled off a 3-2 win.
Surbiton weren't so lucky, going down 7-5 to Buckingham after trailing 5-1 with ten minutes left.
Lizzie Gittens put Surbiton ahead in the third minute but a minute later, Abbie Brant put Buckingham on level terms.
A seventh minute goal from Natasha James and a hat-trick from Lottie Porter thanks to goals in the 15th, 25th (penalty stroke) and 30th minute put Buckingham well on the way to victory.
However the start of the fourth quarter saw Susie Catlin score in the 31st minute and Sanders score two minutes later to reduce Buckingham's lead to 5-3.
Madeleine Newlyn restored Buckingham's three goal advantage in the 34th minute before Gittens struck again in the 36th minute to make the score 6-4.
Brant scored Buckingham's seventh goal in the 39th minute and in the same minute, Sanders scored her second goal of the game to leave Surbiton just short at 7-5.
Surbiton will need to beat Clifton and Leicester on Sunday and hope Leicester fail to beat Clifton as Surbiton will have to overcome a ten worse goal difference if they finish on the same number of points as Leicester.
Last weekend's miraculous comeback by Sutton Coldfield when Surbiton lost 4-3 after leading 3-2 with two minutes remaining may prove to be the difference between staying up or going down.