L1 Extend Lead To 4 Points After Win At Hampstead
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies extended their lead in the Vitality Women's Premier League Top Six to four points after they won 4-2 at Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday afternoon.
East Grinstead are once again their nearest challengers after they rebounded from their 6-0 loss to Surbiton to beat Clifton Robinsons by the same score in West Sussex.
Wimbledon are a point behind East Grinstead in third after beating Beeston 4-0 in South West London.
Hampstead are a point further back in fourth after losing their fourth game of the season.
Hampstead forced a penalty corner after just 80 seconds at Paddington Recreation Ground on an overcast day with rain threatening. Surbiton successfully defended and went on to find their rhythm during the first quarter with Sophie Hamilton running towards goal and having a shot saved by Hampstead goalkeeper Rochelle Gianfrancesco.
Surbiton captain, Sarah Evans, Hamilton and Holly Payne put together a brilliant passing move before Hampstead successfully broke the move up and Darcy Bourne was unlucky to see her shot clip the post in only the seventh minute.
In spite of both teams having attacking intent, it was Bourne who opened the scoring at the end of the first quarter from the penalty spot, Gianfrancesco unable to stop the shot headed for the top left corner.
The rain arrived at the start of the second quarter and it was Bourne who doubled Surbiton's lead in the 24th minute with a shot from the right of the circle beating Gianfrancesco and ending up in the net just above the backboard.
Hamilton almost made it three at the end of the first half with an angled shot from the left of the circle whistling past the right post.
Hampstead were nearly caught out just after half time when Payne and Bourne combined and Meg Dowthwaite tipped the cross past the left post when diving towards goal.
The third quarter was scoreless but the future looked brighter when the floodlights were switched on at the start of the fourth quarter as both teams scored twice, including three goals in a hard fought final five minutes.
Surbiton had kept clean sheets at Wimbledon and at home to East Grinstead, but Hampstead ended their hopes of a third in succession when Lucy Hyams converted her side's fourth penalty corner in the 57th minute to join teammate Lauren Turner on eight goals for the season.
Hampstead were confident that they could still get something out of the match but with five minutes left, Maddie Long found the backboard as Surbiton restored their two goal advantage.
And with two minutes to play, Darcy Bourne completed her second hat-trick in as many matches with a shot which gave Gianfrancesco no chance to leave Hampstead trailing 4-1. Bourne is now Surbiton's leading goalscorer with eleven goals.
In the final minute, Hampstead converted their fifth penalty corner for a second consolation goal, Hayley Turner making the final score 4-2.
Next Saturday, Surbiton visit Beeston at Nottingham Hockey Centre (push back 2 pm).