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W1 Beat Wimbledon 2-0 To Stay Top Of Premier Division


22nd October 2023

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Women beat Wimbledon 2-0 at Sugden Road on Sunday to stay two points clear of second-placed Reading in the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division.

Reading had briefly gone top by a point after a 3-0 win at Isca & University of Exeter earlier on Sunday, but Surbiton beat their local rivals to restore their two point lead.

Under thankfully sunny skies after the rainfall on Saturday, the first half was quite scrappy with both sides struggling to find their rhythm and cohesion, suggesting that the players were struggling to cope with a second game of the weekend.

Surbiton put early pressure on the Wimbledon defence with Beth Bingham defending against Izzy Petter and an early penalty corner opportunity by Amy Costello whistling past the right post.

However, both teams made unforced errors, not helped by stray passes meaning that neither team kept possession for long enough to set up any really meaningful attacks.

Surbiton were denied a penalty stroke following their second penalty corner of the match in the 29th minute, and to add insult to injury, the replacement penalty corner injection was under-hit allowing Wimbledon to clear easily.

The breakthrough came in the 39th minute when following some patient build-up, the ball looped up out of Wimbledon goalkeeper, Nicki Cochrane's reach and fell perfectly for Martha Taylor to run towards goal, forcing the ball over the line from short range before following the ball into the goal.

Four minutes later, Surbiton's fourth penalty corner resulted in a shot being blocked illegally in front of goal and the immediate award of a penalty stroke. Leah Wilkinson slotted the ball to Cochrane's left and against the backboard to double the hosts' lead.

Surbiton had three further penalty corners but couldn't add a third goal, although Wimbledon's Fiona Crackles was struck painfully from the second, but recovered.

Wimbledon's Paige Gillott and Harriet Naismith combined well to carry the ball out of the circle while under pressure in the third quarter.

Both Meg Dowthwaite and Sophie Hamilton crossed the ball over the circle but couldn't find a team-mate to get the final decisive touch and Katie Curtis had a battle with Wimbledon's Sarah Jones towards the end of the game, Sabbie Heesh keeping a clean sheet.

The game can be viewed via the Surbiton Hockey Club channel on You Tube here 

Phoebe Nixon scored twice and Lucie Daman also scored in Reading's 3-0 win at Isca. 

Bowdon dropped to five points behind Surbiton but maintained their status as the only unbeaten team in the Premier Division after a 1-1 draw at Beeston. Jane Kilpatrick put Bowdon's unbeaten record under threat when she scored for Beeston in the fourth minute, but Sophia Crawshay equalised in the 27th minute.

Clifton Robinsons returned to winning ways after two successive defeats with a 2-1 home win over Loughborough Students. Sarah-Jayne Thorburn and Eloise Laity scored for Clifton, Pippi Spawforth snatched a late consolation for Loughborough.

East Grinstead bounced back from their 4-1 reverse against Surbiton on Saturday to win 5-1 at Hampstead & Westminster on Sunday. Grace Balsdon scored twice against her former club, Anna Moore, Sophie Bray and Tess Howard put East Grinstead 5-0 ahead before Anna O'Flanagan scored late for Hampstead. 

The University of Nottingham won the Midlands University clash at the University of Birmingham, Jodie Collins and Eliza Wheeler scoring for Nottingham with Sarah Parkinson-Mills replying for Birmingham as Nottingham won 2-1 in the West Midlands.

Surbiton Women are at home to Beeston on 28 October, push back at Sugden Road is at 3 pm.