L1 Are Fifth Going Into Second Super 6s Weekend
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies are fifth after the first weekend of the Super 6s Championships Premier Division at Repton School after losing 2-0 to East Grinstead and beating Sevenoaks 6-2 on Sunday.
Surbiton will go into the second weekend of matches two points off a Top Four place and will face third placed Bowdon on Sunday and fourth placed Buckingham on Saturday in their attempt to reach Finals Day for the first time in their history.
Surbiton have already shown that they can be competitive with the top teams, having drawn 2-2 on Saturday with Repton, who are second on ten points at the halfway point and they battled with leaders East Grinstead in their first game on Sunday before the West Sussex club used their experience to win 2-0 on the way to maintaining their one hundred per cent record.
East Grinstead had beaten Sutton Coldfield 5-2 and Slough 2-1 on Saturday and needed a tenth minute open play goal from Jordan Homann to take the lead. Surbiton's hopes of snatching a useful point were dashed two minutes from time when Olivia Breed clinched East Grinstead's victory and a subsequent 4-2 victory over Leicester City ensured that East Grinstead go into the second weekend with a two point lead over Repton with last season's finalists set to meet in both teams' last game on 15 February.
Surbiton needed to bounce back from their defeat against Sevenoaks, who had been promoted with them last season but were finding the top flight tough with a 9-1 loss to Repton and a 12-3 defeat to Bowdon on Saturday before they put in a much improved performance before going down 4-2 to Buckingham.
However, Sevenoaks turned the form book upside down, Sophie Crosley converting a fourth minute penalty corner to put the Kent club ahead. Surbiton responded immediately, Holly Payne also converting a penalty corner a minute later before Surbiton captain, Steph Elliott put her side 2-1 ahead from open play in the eighth minute.
Elliott struck again two minutes before half time to give Surbiton a 3-1 lead at the interval and two goals in as many minutes midway through the third quarter put Surbiton in command at 5-1. First Alice Sharp scored in the 24th minute and then Elliott completed her hat-trick from a penalty corner.
Sevenoaks didn't give up with Maddie Thompson pulling a goal back from open play in the 28th minute but any hopes of an unlikely comeback were ended in the 34th minute as Emily Guckian sealed a 6-2 victory for the Surrey team.
With Sevenoaks, Leicester City and Sutton Coldfield all having lost all four games over the first weekend and Slough six points ahead of them, it appears that the second weekend will see a relegation battle the three teams aiming to secure the all-important seventh place and safety.
The key match-ups are all on Sunday with Sevenoaks facing Leicester at 11 am; Sevenoaks then taking on Sutton Coldfield at 2 pm and Leicester meeting Sutton Coldfield in the very last match of the tournament at 5 pm.
More information about the tournament can be found at the England Hockey Altius website via this link.
Whichever teams are relegated to Division One, Knole Park on ten points and Guildford on nine points are on course to replace them after four matches of the second tier. Harleston Magpies and Reading are in contention to snatch a promotion place on seven points apiece.
Wimbledon, relegated from the Premier Division last season could suffer a second successive relegation after winning just one of their four games, against currently bottom club Clifton Robinsons. Wimbledon came close to having 7-5 scorelines in all four games, a 6-5 loss to Stourport in their third match, spoiling the sequence.
Clifton Robinsons have one point with Holcombe and Cambridge City both in relegation peril on four points and Stourport on five points thanks to their victory over Wimbledon.
In Division Two, City of York; Beeston and the University of Birmingham have qualified from the North Division to the National Division and they will be joined by Canterbury, Team Bath Buccaneers and Ipswich, who pipped Barnes to the third place on goal difference after both teams finished on seven points. After winning both matches on Saturday, Barnes drew with Ipswich and lost their last two games on Sunday to miss out on a place in the National Division from which the top two will be promoted to Division One.