L1 Beat Loughborough Students 4-2
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies stayed fourth in the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division after the top four teams all won to clinch their places in the top six.
Surbiton beat Loughborough Students 4-2 at Sugden Road to book their place and dent Loughborough's hopes of qualifying.
Before the match a two minute silence was observed to remember those who lost their lives fighting for their country.
Surbiton played in all black with Loughborough wearing white and purple and under the Sugden Road floodlights there were few chances in the first quarter.
Lorna Mackenzie and Maddie Pearce combined in an early attack for the visitors with Beth Alexander also venturing upfield, but Surbiton stayed patient with Eloise Stenner and Sarah Evans posing early threats and Mackenzie thwarting a Georgie Twigg attack.
It was Twigg who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, just before the end of the first quarter. Surbiton forced a series of penalty corners and it was third time lucky as Twigg scored at the right post.
Surbiton doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, shortly after Maddie Long had seen her shot saved by Loughborough goalkeeper Amber Walton, Meg Dowthwaite made no mistake to give Surbiton breathing space at half time.
Loughborough were stunned in the third quarter as they conceded two goals in as many minutes, Darcy Bourne scoring in the 43rd minute after Sophie Hamilton carried the ball along the Loughborough backline and passed from the left; and Sarah Evans scoring from close range a minute later as Loughborough found themselves 4-0 down and possibly heading for another 8-0 defeat as at Wimbledon the previous Sunday.
However a brief team meeting allowed Loughborough to regroup and pull back two goals in the fourth quarter, Enya Collier scoring in the 56th minute and Kirby Harris netting in the 61st as Surbiton conceded their first goals while wearing all black, having worn the kit for the first time at Swansea a fortnight earlier and won 3-0.
Leaders Hampstead & Westminster beat Swansea 3-0 at Paddington Recreation Ground and will go into a bye week next weekend before facing Surbiton in both teams' last match of the first half of the season.
East Grinstead travelled to the West Midlands and thrashed the University of Birmingham 7-0 to keep up the pressure on Hampstead.
Wimbledon stayed two points ahead of Surbiton having played two games more after their impressive 5-1 win over Buckingham.
And Beeston boosted their chances of qualifying for the top six but spoiled Clifton Robinsons' 500th Premier Division game by winning 2-0.