L1 Beat East Grinstead 3-0
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies are now one of just two teams with one hundred per cent records after two matches in the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division after beating East Grinstead 3-0 at Sugden Road on Saturday.
Clifton Robinsons are the other as they followed up their 2-0 opening day win over Holcombe with a 2-1 win at Reading.
Hampstead & Westminster, who had beaten Buckingham 5-0, drew 3-3 at Holcombe and Wimbledon, who had beaten Reading 1-0, were held 2-2 at home by Loughborough Students.
East Grinstead had beaten the University of Birmingham 2-1 in West Sussex and came to Elmbridge determined to improve on last season's rare 6-0 thrashing by the league champions.
The West Sussex club would have been happy to be scoreless at the end of a first quarter which saw both teams mainly cancel each other out, although they had attacking intentions which resulted in the ball being crossed into the circle in the hope that a forward would make a vital touch towards goal.
In the second quarter, Surbiton started to find their rhythm with Darcy Bourne, Sophie Hamilton and Eloise Stenner putting together a good passing move before Sally Sime came to the visitors' rescue.
The breakthrough came in the 21st minute from a penalty corner awarded after Mollie Mason fouled Hannah Martin. Giselle Ansley's drag-flick was prodded home by Hamilton from short range to put Surbiton ahead from her fourth goal of the season.
Surbiton failed to convert their second penalty corner later in the second quarter and East Grinstead had their only penalty corner opportunity just before half time, but a manoeuvred routine failed to penetrate the Surbiton defence and the visitors trailed 1-0 at the interval.
East Grinstead took the initiative at the start of the second half but couldn't find a quick equaliser, whilst Martin started to go on the penetrating runs which were her trademark during her first spell at Sugden Road. Surbiton doubled their lead in the 41st minute when visiting goalkeeper, Laura Myers was unsighted and Martin sneaked up on her blind side to tap home from very close range.
A minute earlier, East Grinstead had Laura Unsworth to thank for defending Surbiton's third penalty corner. Surbiton were unfortunate with their penalty corner routine as Izzy Petter just failed to make contact with Ansley's shot from the fourth and Leah Wilkinson couldn't quite guide Steph Elliott's shot past Myers from the hosts' fifth.
Amy Costello defused an East Grinstead attack with ten minutes remaining as the visitors tried to pull a goal back.
With sunny conditions prevailing in late afternoon, Surbiton had chances to score from open play from Martha Le Huray and Alice Wills before Surbiton had the last word two minutes from time, Bourne finishing from the right of the circle in defiant fashion to ensure that last season's divisional leading goalscorer opened her account for the 2022-23 season.
Surbiton are at home to the University of Nottingham next Saturday (8 October) at 4pm as part of a doubleheader which sees the men play Oxted at 6 pm. The game will see the University of Nottingham play a Premier Division match outside Nottingham Hockey Centre for the first time as they started the season a short distance from their own pitch where they drew 2-2 with Beeston before going down 4-2 to the University of Birmingham on their own pitch.