Hamilton Treble Helps L1 To 5-0 Win At Loughborough
By Colin Pike
Sophie Hamilton's 22 minute hat-trick helped Surbiton Ladies on their way to a convincing 5-0 victory over Loughborough Students at Loughborough University on Saturday afternoon.
Surbiton not only maintained their record of never having lost their opening fixture since they joined the Vitality Women's Hockey League in 2010-11, but set a new record with a victory by the highest margin, beating their 4-0 home win over Reading in their first ever Premier Division fixture in 2012-13, and their 5-1 home win over Dereham in their first ever national league match in the Conference East at Reeds School in 2010-11.
In the East Midlands there was a threat of rain during the afternoon, but the rain didn't arrive until the final whistle with black clouds gathering in the fourth quarter.
Hannah Martin and Giselle Ansley returned to Surbiton after playing in the Netherlands and Izzy Petter who scored for Loughborough on their return to the Premier Division in 2019-20, also returned to Surbiton to face her former club.
Amy Costello, who split the 2021-22 season with first UHC Hamburg and then Edinburgh University, made her Surbiton debut in Leicestershire.
Loughborough were put under pressure in the first minute as Darcy Bourne spun round before forcing a save from home goalkeeper, Marcia LaPlante. Martin and Hamilton set up the visitors' first penalty corner in the third minute, but although Surbiton couldn't capitalise, two minutes later, Hamilton ran down the left wing before running towards goal and scoring with an angled shot inside the right post.
In the sixth minute, Alice Sharp went close to doubling Surbiton's lead but the ball rebounded off the right post and Petter also forced a save in the first quarter before Hamilton closed the first period with a shot from the right of the circle to give Surbiton a two goal cushion.
Loughborough conceded several penalty corners, but managed to defend until the 27th minute when Hamilton completed her hat-trick, converting from close range to put Surbiton in a commanding position.
Four minutes before half time, Steph Elliott celebrated her captaincy by converting Surbiton's eighth penalty corner, retaken after Loughborough's Lauren Workman was unfortunately hit during the original set-piece. Elliott jumped and screamed with joy to complete a professional first half performance.
Loughborough, who had battled throughout, put in an improved performance in the second half, restricting Surbiton to just one further goal in the 49th minute, Alice Wills finishing off a perfect passing move from the left of the circle.
Surbiton ultimately forced ten penalty corners whilst Loughborough posed a mini-threat in the last three minutes with two awards of their own, home captain, Lorna Mackenzie flicking the ball wide of the right post from the second.
Hampstead & Westminster also scored five goals without reply in a home win over Buckingham.
Reading's return to the Premier Division ended in narrow disappointment as they went down 1-0 at Wimbledon.
In the very local derby, Beeston lost a two goal lead as the University of Nottingham levelled in the dying seconds to earn their first top flight point in a 2-2 draw.
East Grinstead also scored late to beat the University of Birmingham 2-1 in West Sussex and in Bristol, Clifton Robinsons beat Holcombe 2-0.
Surbiton are at home to East Grinstead next Saturday at 4 pm in the first match of a men and women double header.