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EG End W1's 11 Game Winning Streak


17th February 2024

By Colin Pike

East Grinstead ended Surbiton Women's 11 game Women's Hockey League Premier Division winning streak with a narrow 1-0 win at a damp and chilly Saint Hill, to extend their own unbeaten run to seven games since they lost 4-1 against Surbiton at the same venue in October.

The game can be watched back via the East Grinstead Hockey TV channel on You Tube here

Surbiton failed to score in a Premier Division game for the first time since they lost 2-0 at home to Hampstead and Westminster in March 2022 and failed to score in a Premier Division away game for the first time since they drew 0-0 at Loughborough Students in September 2020.

East Grinstead kept a clean sheet against Surbiton for the second time as they had also won 1-0 at Sugden Road in October 2020 before the 2020-21 season was curtailed due to Covid-19.

Surbiton tried to take the game to East Grinstead from the start, mainly dominating possession in the first quarter with Sophie Hamilton running towards goal and Lily Walker and Ellie Rayer having to combine to defend the home goal.

East Grinstead's Tess Howard defended well against Surbiton's Izzy Petter in a first quarter which saw the home team defend well to frustrate Surbiton.

Surbiton failed to take advantage of two penalty corner opportunities in the first quarter, Amy Costello's shot well saved by East Grinstead goalkeeper Isabel Field, and the second leading to an East Grinstead counter attack following a mis-trap, Surbiton fortunately able to recover the situation.

Both teams' defenses remained solid for most of the second quarter, before East Grinstead made the breakthrough in the 33rd minute, Sophie Bray's shot saved by Sabbie Heesh, only for Howard to fire the rebound in the top right corner to leave Surbiton trailing.

In the third quarter, whatever attacking move Surbiton tried to make was thwarted by a well marshalled East Grinstead defence, a good passing move involving Holly Payne, Costello and Hannah French ended by Mollie Mason, and Katie Curtis unable to evade Pippa Lock late in the quarter.

Walker could have doubled East Grinstead's lead in the 56th minute, her shot going agonisingly past the left post in the home supporters' opinion. Surbiton's hopes of a late equaliser once again evaporated with six minutes remaining as Eloise Stenner's drag-flick was deflected by an East Grinstead stick to preserve the home team's precious lead.

In summary, it just wasn't to be Surbiton's day, but realistically it was a battle of two quality sides and after four successive defeats to Surbiton at Saint Hill, it was East Grinstead's turn to beat their rivals at home for the first time since 2019-20 when they won 6-1 in the last match before the season ended due to the Covid-19 threat.

Reading closed to within five points of Surbiton courtesy of an emphatic 5-0 win at Bowdon. Phoebe Nixon, Rebecca Kaps, Mia Moore, Lizzie Gittens and Francesca Clements all scored to ensure that the Berkshire club kept up the pressure on the leaders.

Hampstead & Westminster came away from the University of Nottingham with a 3-1 win, Rachel Greenwood, Lily Owsley and Anna O'Flanagan all on target with Holly Nixon replying for Nottingham.

In the Lower Six, Wimbledon beat Isca and University of Exeter 2-1, Olivia Chilton and Jen Eadie scoring for Wimbledon after Saskia Lawrence put the Devon club ahead.

Clifton Robinsons also had a narrow home win, 3-2 over Beeston. Cerys Miller gave Beeston the lead before Holly Munro, Livvy Hoskins and Izzy Webb put Clifton 3-1 up before half time. Rosy Stephens struck in the second half but Beeston couldn't find an equaliser.

Honours were even in the Midlands university derby and Loughborough Students drew 3-3 at home to the University of Birmingham. Betsan Thomas opened the score for Birmingham before Sam McCrory's brace and Becca Malyon's goal gave Loughborough a 3-1 advantage early in the third quarter. 

Birmingham were not to be denied a point and Lotty Hobson and Amy Grassom both scored in a two minute spell to earn the 3-3 draw.

With three games left, Wimbledon and Clifton Robinsons are currently on course to take the last two places in the League finals with Wimbledon on 20 points and Clifton Robinsons on 19 points, four points ahead of the University of Birmingham.

Next Saturday, Surbiton play the first of three successive home games when they welcome the University of Nottingham to Sugden Road for a 1730 pushback.