L1 Top Table After 3-0 Win In Birmingham
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies went to the top of the Women's Hockey League Premier Division following their 3-0 win at the University of Birmingham.
Previous leaders, East Grinstead were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Buckingham and with Hampstead & Westminster losing 4-2 at home to Loughborough Students, no Premier Division team now has maximum points.
East Grinstead's draw extended their unbeaten run to eighteen games, with Surbiton the last team to beat them at Sugden Road last season.
Surbiton host East Grinstead in the first top of the table clash of the season next Saturday (10 October) at 4 pm.
Having been held to a goalless draw at Loughborough in their last game, Surbiton wasted no time in taking the lead in Birmingham. With the game played in heavy rain due to Storm Alex, it was Storm Atko who broke the deadlock, Emily Atkinson deflecting Eloise Stenner's drag-flick high into the roof of the net after just ninety seconds.
Surbiton struggled to get the ball out of their own half at times as Birmingham pressed and in the difficult conditions there were times when misplaced passes and unforced errors meant that neither team held possession for any length of time.
Despite the early breakthrough, Surbiton had to settle for the 1-0 lead at half time, but their penalty corner routine paid dividends twice in the second half as they headed for a comfortable victory.
Georgie Twigg, who was tenacious in continually winning back possession with tackles, doubled the lead from Surbiton's third penalty corner in the 48th minute and nine minutes later it was Stenner's turn to find the backboard from Surbiton's fourth award for her second goal of the season to put Surbiton in control.
Surbiton goalkeeper, Louisa Bray kicked the ball away confidently when Birmingham threatened in the second half and the defence will be happy to have kept their third successive clean sheet, with Surbiton the only team not to have conceded a goal in the Premier Division this season.
Former Surbiton player, Izzy Petter was amongst the scorers for Loughborough against Hampstead in a game played at Bisham Abbey due to Paddington Recreation Ground not being available.
Another former Surbiton player, Olivia Chilton scored a last minute winner to earn Wimbledon a 2-1 win at Holcombe.
Swansea struggled once again as Beeston ended their four game losing streak and broke their goalscoring drought with a 4-0 home win.