L1 Extend Lead To Three Points After 5-0 Win Over Holcombe
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies extended their lead at the top of the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division to three points over nearest rivals Wimbledon thanks to their 5-0 home win over Holcombe on Saturday afternoon and Wimbledon's 2-2 home draw with Clifton Robinsons.
Hampstead and Westminster, and Beeston are a point further back after Hampstead won 2-0 at the University of Birmingham and Beeston drew 3-3 at East Grinstead. Holcombe's defeat saw them drop to eleventh, level on five points with the University of Nottingham, who lost 4-2 at home to Reading, with Buckingham still pointless after a 2-0 defeat at Loughborough Students.
Holcombe visited Surbiton on Mizuno day when Women's Sport was championed, but sadly the weather slightly spoiled the occasion with occasional rain showers.
With the clocks having gone back last weekend, the whole match was a floodlit affair, Surbiton putting pressure on the Holcombe defence from the start, Freya Bull, Catherine Ledesma and Emma Bandurak all needed by the visitors in the first two minutes.
Surbiton were frustrated as in the first half they frequently conceded free hits when in position to score and indeed had the ball in the goal twice, only for both efforts to be ruled out to Holcombe's relief.
Holcombe goalkeeper Miriam Pritchard had an outstanding game in goal in spite of the final scoreline, denying Giselle Ansley from the hosts' first penalty corner in the sixth minute.
Ansley was also thwarted six minutes later from Surbiton's second penalty corner after izzy Petter had pulled the goal back for Martha Le Huray to fire past the left post from open play.
Towards the end of the first quarter, Harriet Pittard tried to defend but Darcy Bourne won the ball back before slipping the ball past the left post.
The rain started falling in the second quarter and after Holcombe had worked hard to defend against the Surbiton forwards, their work was undone by a clinical and determined finish in the 27th minute, Bourne smashing the ball against the backboard to put Surbiton ahead.
Although Holcombe managed to keep possession in the minutes immediately after the opening goal, Sophie Hamilton and Petter continued to cause problems for the Holcombe defence before half time was reached with Surbiton still leading 1-0.
Holcombe held out for most of the third quarter, Pritchard saving from Hamilton, Jess Dyson and Petter, but the insurance goal Surbiton were seeking came from their third penalty corner in the 49th minute, Hannah Martin neatly deflecting the ball past Pritchard to double their lead.
Surbiton's penalty corner routine was also the source of their third goal, Amy Costello scoring her first goal for the club in the 57th minute.
Two minutes later, Leah Wilkinson just failed to complete a hat-trick of penalty corner conversions, unluckily mistiming her dive in an attempt to deflect the ball home.
With pressure mounting, Holcombe were caught out twice in two minutes by Le Huray in the 60th and 61st minutes, the second goal a simple touch in from short range to complete a deserved victory.
Surbiton are yet to concede a goal at home in the league this season following a 3-0 win over East Grinstead; and 4-0 wins over the University of Nottingham and Reading, Sabbie Heesh and the Surbiton defence keeping another clean sheet.
Next Saturday, Surbiton travel to Paddington Recreation Ground to face Hampstead & Westminster in the first match of a men's/ women's double header, push back 4 pm.