L1 On Cusp Of League Title After Win Over Clifton Robinsons
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies are on the cusp of their eighth league title after a 3-0 home win over Clifton Robinsons combined with East Grinstead's 3-2 home defeat by Beeston left Surbiton with a seven point lead with just three games to play.
Surbiton's Darcy Bourne scored twice, but was denied the opportunity of a fourth successive Premier Division hat-trick by a penalty stroke miss in the 22nd minute when the score was 0-0.
Bourne clipped the left post as Surbiton were awarded a penalty stroke for the fourth successive week following Surbiton's fourth penalty corner.
On a warm and sunny day, Surbiton had been awarded three penalty corners in the first quarter with Eloise Stenner's drag-flick ending up past the right post; Holly Payne forcing a save from Clifton goalkeeper Aline De Visser and Steph Elliott shooting just past the left post.
Bourne's drag-flick from the hosts' fourth penalty corner was saved by De Visser before the penalty stroke was awarded, seemingly giving Surbiton the breakthrough opportunity but for once Bourne couldn't convert.
Clifton had two penalty corner opportunities in the first half and thought they had scored from the second in the 31st minute, but after an umpire consultation the goal was disallowed and three minutes later, instead it was Surbiton who took the lead, Bourne finally scoring from their fifth penalty corner.
The game saw several cards issued with Clifton's Louisa Bell seeing green in the 14th minute and Surbiton's Holly Payne also spending two minutes in the sin-bin from the 17th minute.
Two minutes after half time, Bourne struck again with a good individual goal which would have been ideal for what should have been a hat-trick goal, running towards goal, keeping possession before lobbing De Visser perfectly with the ball thrust firmly into the netting.
Surbiton's third goal came from their seventh penalty corner of the match, Meg Dowthwaite cementing Surbiton's lead in the 57th minute from Surbiton's seventh penalty corner.
Clifton Robinsons, operating with a thirteen player squad, had to cope with a player short for seven minutes in the fourth quarter when Natasha Fortnam received a green card in the 57th minute followed by a yellow card in the 65th minute.
Surbiton had also been a player down when Sophie Hamilton saw green in the 51st minute as cards were once more prevalent.
Bourne was denied a further attempt at a historic hat-trick in the penultimate minute when her drag-flick went wide of the left post from Surbiton's eighth and last penalty corner.
Wimbledon are eight points behind Surbiton after a 1-0 win at Hampstead & Westminster and have closed to within one point of second placed East Grinstead.
Hampstead are fourth and visit Sugden Road next Saturday (26 March) push back 5 pm.
In the Bottom 5, Buckingham won their fourth match in a row, 2-1 at home to Holcombe to move one point ahead of eighth placed University of Birmingham.
Bottom club Swansea won their first ever Premier Division match, 2-1 at Loughborough Students on Saturday, to leave Holcombe and Loughborough level on thirteen points, eight points ahead of Swansea.
On Sunday, Swansea lost their rearranged match at the University of Birmingham 1-0 as Birmingham moved back to seventh, two points ahead of Buckingham.