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W1 Beat Hampstead 4-1 To Top Pool A


6th April 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Women beat Hampstead and Westminster 4-1 at Sugden Road on Saturday afternoon to finish top of Pool A and earn a semi-final against Wimbledon next Saturday in the League Finals.

Wimbledon, who qualified for the League Finals Pool stage by finishing top of the Top Six table, won 2-0 at Bowdon thanks to goals from Amelie Rees and Megan Crowson to finish as runners-up behind East Grinstead.

Defending champions, East Grinstead were in danger of missing out on the semi-finals at half time of their home game versus Reading after Phoebe Nixon put them ahead on the quarter hour but a penalty stroke from Grace Balsdon and an open play goal from Sophie Bray with eight minutes to play gave the West Sussex club a win and a last four meeting against Hampstead.

Surbiton and Hampstead had both qualified for the semi-finals before the match started, therefore were playing to decide which team finished top of Pool A.

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

Surbiton were playing their fifth game since Good Friday and just as in their pivotal European pool game against Der Club an der Alster, had to come from behind, Holly Hunt scoring at the right post in the eighth minute after a Hampstead attack down the right.

Surbiton were back on level terms four minutes later as Izzy Petter's shot from the right was finished off by Hannah French.

Surbiton had had an early penalty corner opportunity, but their second award gave them the lead in the 23rd minute, a Giselle Ansley drag-flick rebounding off the backboard beyond Hampstead goalkeeper, Miriam Pritchard.

Hampstead trailed 2-1 at half time and early in the third quarter conceded a controversial penalty stroke after Pritchard saved from Surbiton's third penalty corner of the match. Amy Costello stepped up to slot the ball just inside the left post to cement top spot in Pool A.

With eight minutes remaining, Surbiton completed the scoring with a wonderful team goal out of defence. Steph Elliott's aerial was carried by French, who repaid Petter for her assist in the opening goal by passing the ball for Petter to round Pritchard before scoring.

Surbiton defended five Hampstead penalty corners and nearly scored a fifth goal from their fifth penalty corner of the match in added on time, Costello contriving to hit the left post before the ball was cleared to end the game.

In the other Pool A game, the University of Nottingham beat Clifton Robinsons 3-2 at Nottingham Hockey Centre. Maddie Long scored twice with Kea Murray scoring the winning goal with three minutes left, Clifton Robinsons having led 2-1 just after half time with goals from Darcy Shields and Emily Drysdale.

In the relegation playoffs, Beeston will join Isca & University of Exeter in Division One next season after Beeston beat Isca 5-2. Although the University of Birmingham lost 2-1 at home to Loughborough Students, Beeston were relegated on goal difference.

Cerys Miller, Rosy Stephens, Hannah Grieve, Lauren Burrell and Sophie Robinson scored for Beeston with Victoria McCabe and Georgie Gardens replying for Isca.

Loughborough were already safe from relegation before the match at Birmingham, but Jess Dyson and Amy Cradden gave Loughborough a 2-0 lead. Sarah Parkinson-Mills pulled a goal back with two minutes left, but Birmingham maintained their top flight status with a -4 goal difference compared with Beeston's -6. 

The schedule for the League Finals weekend will be confirmed shortly.