Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Surbiton 1 Beeston 2
Surbiton suffered a disappointing defeat to newly promoted Beeston on Saturday, their lead at the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League trimmed to goal difference over Holcombe, 3-1 winners at the University of Birmingham.
If East Grinstead hadn’t had three points deducted earlier in the season due to ineligible player issues, there would be a three way tie on points in the top flight going into the mid-season break, East Grinstead winning 1-0 at home to Slough.
Surbiton lost their second match in the last three games, without six international players on duty at the Wanglibao Champions Trophy in Changzhou, China, but after three minutes, they were ahead, Alice Sharp’s shot saved by Beeston goalkeeper, Nicki Cochrane only for Susie Catlin to dive in to put away the rebound.
Beeston fought back, attacking the Surbiton goal with Kathryn Lane forcing a save from Surbiton goalkeeper, Grace O’Hanlon from their first penalty corner. Beeston had two further penalty corner opportunities in the first half, but it was after half time that they would reap their rewards.
Youngster Izzy Petter ran towards goal and had a shot saved by Cochrane, but generally the visitors defended well with Caroline Hanks, Charlotte Triggs and Isabella Davison thwarting the Surbiton forwards.
Surbiton’s failure to double their lead was always going to be their vulnerability and so it proved five minutes after the interval when former Surbiton player Eloise Stenner equalised from Beeston’s fourth penalty corner.
Beeston’s winning goal also came via their penalty corner routine, Bridget Kiddle becoming their heroine in the 53rd minute from their sixth award. Surbiton tried to find the equaliser, but again Beeston’s defence held firm with Stenner, Triggs, Hanks, Kiddle and Alice Huddlestone all playing their part in preserving the Nottingham club’s lead.
When the final whistle blew, the Beeston bench celebrated, realising how far they have come since their promotion, having lost the first meeting 3-1 at Nottingham Hockey Centre.
When the league resumes in February, Surbiton will hold a two goal better goal difference over second placed Holcombe, with East Grinstead three points back in third. Clifton Robinsons, eighth a month ago, moved into fourth with their fourth successive win, 2-0 over bottom club Canterbury.
Bowdon Hightown moved up to seventh with a 2-0 home win over Buckingham, whose defeat drops them to sixth. Canterbury are four points adrift of both the University of Birmingham and Slough with eight games to play.
Scorer: Susie Catlin 3-F
Squad: Grace O’Hanlon (GK); Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Emily Atkinson, Ella Burnley, Olivia Chilton, Emily Defroand, Susie Catlin, Alice Sharp, Izzy Petter, Robyn Collins, Emily Rowlands.
Subs: Holly Payne (8 mins), Alice Klugman (10), Jo Hunter (10), Peggy Winterborn (20).
Cards: Green: Alice Sharp (21 mins), Emily Atkinson (68 mins).
Scorers: Eloise Stenner 40-PC, Bridget Kiddle 53-PC
Squad: Nicki Cochrane (GK and Capt.); Alice Huddlestone, Kathryn Lane, Lauren Burrell, Sophie Robinson, Rebekah Walker, Serena Barr, Bridget Kiddle, Eloise Stenner, Isabella Davison, Lottie Ross.
Subs: Nina Apoola (4 mins), Rosy Stephens (6), Caroline Hanks (8), Paige Gillott (8), Charlotte Triggs (10).
Match Official: James Boylan
Umpires: Andy Poulain and Cathy Wright