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W1 Beat Bowdon 4-1


2nd March 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Women, who have already clinched a first place finish in the Women's Hockey League Premier Division, beat Bowdon 4-1 at Sugden Road on Saturday evening to continue their momentum as they approach the League Finals in two weeks time.

Bowdon were making their first visit to Surbiton since October 2019 due to being resident in Division One North from 2020-21 to last season when they won promotion back to the Premier Division and after winning three of their first four matches, were looking for their first win since October 2023.

The match can be watched back via the Surbiton Hockey Club channel on You Tube here

After a goalless first quarter, Surbiton took the lead in the 22nd minute, Steph Elliott putting away a rebound from a Bowdon defender from Surbiton's fifth penalty corner of the match.

Seven minutes later, Surbiton's penalty corner routine worked wonders again as Sophie Hamilton's neat deflection eluded Kirsty Shea in the Bowdon goal to double the hosts' lead.

Historically, Bowdon have struggled to score on their visits to Sugden Road, but in the 56th minute, Katie Alexander managed to slip the ball past Surbiton goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh from Bowdon's fourth penalty corner to become only the fourth Bowdon player to score against Surbiton in the Premier Division after Sally Walton, Jane Donnelly and Charlene Mason.

Any hopes that Bowdon had of snatching at least a point were ended by two Surbiton goals in the last ten minutes. In the 61st minute a passing move out of their own half saw Katie Curtis find Martha Taylor before the ball was passed to Meg Dowthwaite on the left, the cross finding its way back to Taylor to work her magic skilfully with a deft finish to restore Surbiton's two goal advantage. 

In the final minute, Dowthwaite turned from goal provider to goal scorer with a neat deflection from in front of goal to make the final score 4-1, a result which confirms that Bowdon will finish sixth.

Second-placed East Grinstead and third-placed Reading, both locked together eight points behind Surbiton, had big wins. East Grinstead beat Hampstead & Westminster 5-1, Pippa Lock scoring twice with Grace Balsdon, Sophie Bray and Liv Breed also scoring. Madi Ratcliffe was on target for Hampstead.

Reading, who visit Sugden Road in the final match of Stage 2 next Saturday, thrashed the University of Nottingham 6-0 at Sonning Lane. Shona McCallin notched a brace with Rebecca Kaps, Mia Moore, Phoebe Nixon and Sarah Spooner also finding the net. 

In the Lower Six, Wimbledon and Clifton Robinsons had booked their places in the League Finals last weekend and their clash in South West London ended 1-0 to Wimbledon, Olivia Chilton scoring the only goal in the 55th minute.

Isca & University of Exeter had an agonising 3-2 defeat at the University of Birmingham. Amy Grassom and Lily Sokhi gave Birmingham a 2-0 lead only for Lucy Day and Victoria McCabe to level before half time. Sarah Parkinson-Mills was Birmingham's match winner in the 39th minute.

Loughborough Students won 3-2 at Beeston, but after leading 3-0, had a few anxious moments before completing the victory. Ellie Mackenzie, Maddie Goodman and Beth Alexander put Loughborough 3-0 ahead by the 46th minute, but a brace of penalty corner conversions from Hannah Grieve left the result in doubt until the final whistle.

As next weekend is the final round of matches before the League Finals, all the Women's Premier Division matches will start at 1400.

Surbiton W2 missed out on the chance to clinch the Division One South title as they suffered their first defeat of the season, 3-0 at home to Sevenoaks. Maddie Moore converted a fourth minute penalty corner, JoJo Blunt doubled the visitors' lead in the 25th minute with Sevenoaks' third goal coming from a breakaway attack from a Surbiton penalty corner, Moore sealing the win in the 62nd minute.

Barnes beat Canterbury 2-0 to reduce Surbiton's lead to nine points with three games left and in the battle for promotion, lead Holcombe by four points having played a match more after Holcombe's game at Team Bath Buccaneers was postponed due to snow.

Surbiton W2 cannot be promoted as second teams are not permitted in the Premier Division and clubs cannot have more than one team in a division.