W1 Beat Isca & UOE 6-1
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Women bounced back from their opening day defeat at Reading to get their Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division campaign up and running with a convincing 6-1 home victory over Isca & University of Exeter on Saturday afternoon.
Surbiton welcomed back their international players, but weren't able to pull away from their Devon opponents until the second half.
Isca had lost 2-0 at Clifton Robinsons in their first-ever Premier Division game and found themselves under pressure, facing a penalty corner after just 53 seconds. Goalkeeper Jessica Buchanan helped them avoid going behind early as Isca looked to counter attack and take on the Surbiton defence.
There was nothing Buchanan could do in the seventh minute when Leah Wilkinson opened the scoring, finishing off Eloise Stenner's penalty corner to give Surbiton the boost they needed.
Isca seemed nervous at times, making unforced errors, but the visitors caught the Surbiton defence out in the 16th minute with a superbly timed break out of defence which saw Victoria McCabe coolly finish against Surbiton goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh to make history and score Isca's first-ever goal in the top flight.
Parity lasted approximately 30 seconds as Surbiton retook the lead almost immediately, Hannah French (nee Martin) quickly going up the other end to score her first goal of the season after being unavailable at Reading.
Isca suffered another setback early in the second quarter when they conceded a penalty stroke. Sarah Evans stepped up to extend Surbiton's lead from the spot in the 19th minute.
The visitors found themselves under pressure with Millie Holme stopping Stenner, Buchanan saving from Sophie Hamilton with Izzy Petter's rebound lob going well wide of goal and Isca having to defend Surbiton's series of passing movements attacks.
Surbiton also displayed patience with Steph Elliott and Amy Costello passing the ball to each other while working out the best way to set up a penetrating attack, whilst Katie Curtis battled with Imogen Graham as both teams tried to find a way forward.
McCabe proved to be Isca's most dangerous attacking player, but also showed that at the highest level there is scope to smile with her opponent after McCabe fell over while battling with Wilkinson.
Surbiton still led 3-1, but the catalyst for the scoring to resume was Hamilton's trademark smash into the net in the 46th minute, which was followed by Petter's finish seven minutes later, Isca trailing 5-1.
French was brought down in the circle with Isca conceding a penalty corner, but the corner resulted in the award of Surbiton's second penalty stroke of the match which French put away in determined fashion to make the score 6-1 with eight minutes to play.
The game can be watched back via the Surbiton Hockey Club channel on You Tube and the video can be found here
Surbiton visit the University of Birmingham next Saturday, push back 2.30 pm.
Reading and Beeston both have maximum points after the first two rounds of matches. Reading followed up their win over Surbiton with a 2-1 victory at Loughborough Students. Shona McCallin and Lucie Daman scored for Reading, Beth Alexander netting for Loughborough.
Beeston beat East Grinstead 2-1, Hannah Grieve and Cerys Miller on target for the hosts, Tess Howard pulling a goal back for the reigning champions.
Hampstead & Westminster are third after a convincing 4-1 home win over the University of Nottingham. Amy Elliott, Esme Burge and Hannah Davey put Hampstead 3-0 ahead before Jordan Homann reduced the hosts' lead. Holly Hunt completed the scoring.
Honours were even at Clifton Robinsons where Wimbledon drew 2-2. Evie Grindal and Sarah-Jayne Thorburn had the first and last words for Clifton, Becky Manton and Olivia Chilton having turned the match around for the visitors before Thorburn's late equaliser.
Bowdon and the University of Birmingham also could not be separated with the teams drawing 2-2. Lily Sokhi scored both goals for Birmingham with Aine Curran and Rosie Threadgold responding for Bowdon.
Surbiton Women's 2s started their VWHL Division One South campaign with a 6-1 home win over Team Bath Buccaneers, last season's Conference West champions at Sugden Road.
Charlotte Calnan gave Surbiton the lead from open play in the eleventh minute, only for Annie Wilson to level eight minutes later. Hannah Denison scored twice in the 29th and 34th minutes to ensure Surbiton led 3-1 at the interval before Imogen Davies converted a penalty corner in the 45th minute and Josie Hippe extended Surbiton's advantage to 5-1 from open play two minutes later. Denison completed a deserved hat-trick with 20 minutes to play.