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W1 Come From Behind To Beat Clifton Robinsons 4-1


16th March 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Women had to come from behind to beat valiant Clifton Robinsons 4-1 in their opening match of the Women's Hockey League League Finals Pool A at Sugden Road on Saturday afternoon.

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

Clifton Robinsons were the surprise team in last season's inaugural League Finals, qualifying for the final four after finishing sixth in the Premier Division regular season. And for the first 30 minutes of Saturday's encounter, they looked like they could repeat their feat after Phoebe Richards tipped the ball past Surbiton goalkeeper, Sabbie Heesh at the right post in the fifth minute to give the Bristol based club the lead.

But having frustrated the Surbiton forwards for most of the first half, Clifton, who qualified for the League finals in eighth place, conceded twice from penalty corners in a five minute spell. Amy Costello found the backboard from Surbiton's fifth penalty corner of the match on the half hour mark and just before half time, Hannah French finished off the home side's seventh award to turn the match around.

French struck again with a well taken goal in the 49th minute from open play to give Surbiton some much appreciated breathing space before Alice Sharp gave Aline De Visser no chance in the dying seconds of the third quarter to enable Surbiton to beat Clifton Robinsons 4-1 at home for the second time this season, having won in November in the first phase of the Women's Hockey League Premier Division season.

Also for the second time in 2023-24, Surbiton Women emulated their second team by winning by the same score, having beaten Isca & University of Exeter 6-1 immediately after Surbiton W2s defeated Team Bath Buccaneers in the Division One South on 23 September.

The other match in Pool A saw a goal fest at Paddington Recreation Ground as Hampstead & Westminster beat the University of Nottingham 9-3. Olivia Hamilton, Madi Ratcliffe and Holly Hunt scored twice with Sofia Martin, Rachel Greenwood and Esme Burge also finding the net to give Hampstead a big boost towards qualification. Hampstead improved on their 8-2 win at the same venue in October 2022. University of Nottingham replied through Claudia Swain and a brace from Maddie Axford.

In Pool B, Reading beat Bowdon 4-0 at Sonning Lane. Jo Pinner, Sarah Spooner, Mia Moore and Lizzie Neal gave the Berkshire club a flying start. Defending champions East Grinstead beat Wimbledon 2-1, Liv Breed and Sophie Bray scoring for East Grinstead, Olivia Chilton responding for Wimbledon.

In the relegation playoffs, both games ended 1-1. Already relegated Isca & University of Exeter drew for the first time this season after Trixie Nicholson's late penalty corner cancelled out Sarah Parkinson-Mills' opening goal for the University of Birmingham.

Beeston's hopes of avoiding relegation are hanging by a thread after a 1-1 draw at Loughborough Students leaves them five points adrift of their Leicestershire rivals with two games to play.

Beth Alexander put Loughborough ahead, only for Cerys Miller to equalise with seven minutes remaining.

Surbiton play the University of Nottingham at Sugden Road next Saturday (23 March) push back 1600. Surbiton will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins after winning 5-0 at Nottingham Hockey Centre in November and 6-1 at home on 24 February.