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L1 End Hampstead & Westminster's Winning Run


27th November 2021

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Ladies ended Hampstead & Westminster's winning run with a 3-2 victory at Sugden Road on Saturday afternoon.

Hampstead had won their first nine Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division matches, but fell at the final hurdle in their attempt to complete a Phase 1 Grand Slam as Surbiton built on last Sunday's 2-1 win at East Grinstead to move to within three points of Hampstead at the Winter break.

East Grinstead stayed ahead of Surbiton in second place, level on 24 points but with a seven better goal difference following their 6-1 home win over Clifton Robinsons.

The game at Sugden Road, played in bitterly cold conditions and with the floodlights needed from the start, turned to be largely a penalty corner duel with only one goal coming from open play.

Surbiton led 2-0 at the end of the first quarter, Darcy Bourne putting Surbiton ahead from their first penalty corner in the tenth minute before Georgie Twigg doubled the lead in the 18th minute from Surbiton's second award. It was Twigg's third league goal of the season with all three goals scored from penalty corners in the 18th minute.

Sophie Hamilton and Maddie Long had both had shots saved by Hampstead goalkeeper, Rochelle Gianfrancesco before Bourne broke the deadlock.

Hampstead had failed to score from their first penalty corner in the first quarter, but made no mistake from their second, Grace Balsdon pulling a goal back in the 32nd minute to give the leaders hope for the second half.

Surbiton were unlucky not to score from a run of three penalty corners early in the second half, but in the 43rd minute, went close to scoring from open play, Gianfrancesco saving again from Long before Bourne smacked the rebound into the outside of the right post.

Seconds later, the ball fell perfectly for Bourne to poke the ball home from close range to restore Surbiton's two goal advantage. 

With Hampstead's winning run and unbeaten run under serious threat, they had a chance to pull another goal back in the 58th minute when they won a penalty corner and Surbiton were reduced to ten players after Eloise Stenner was shown a yellow card for the resulting foul.

Surbiton goalkeeper, Sabbie Heesh came to Surbiton' rescue, but their was nothing she could do in the 62nd minute when Emily Douglas converted Hampstead's fourth penalty corner to increase the visitors' belief that they could salvage at least a point.

Hampstead's last chance came in the penultimate minute when they won their fifth penalty corner of the match, but just as at East Grinstead last Sunday, Surbiton survived and the whistle blew to confirm that Hampstead's winning run was over.

Hampstead end Phase One on 27 points from their ten matches with East Grinstead and Surbiton both on 24, East Grinstead with a goal difference of plus 21 and Surbiton plus 14.

Wimbledon are fourth on 20 points and Beeston and Clifton Robinsons stayed fifth and sixth, Beeston losing 2-1 at home to Loughborough Students.

Loughborough's win took them up to seventh, two points adrift of a top six spot. Holcombe moved up to eighth thanks to their 4-1 home win over bottom club Swansea, but that might not be their final first half position as the match between the University of Birmingham and Buckingham was postponed.

Surbiton also found out on Friday that the Euro Hockey League at Easter 2022 will be held at the Wagener Stadium in Amsteelveen. The draw for the FINAL8 will be made on 30 November at 1300 CET (1200 GMT).