Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Hampstead & Westminster 2 Surbiton 3
Hampstead & Westminster dropped to third place in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division after they lost 3-2 at home to Surbiton at Paddington Recreation Ground and East Grinstead won 6-0 at Loughborough Students to move into second, two points ahead of Hampstead with two games to play.
The playoff format having changed this season with the top two teams earning home advantage in the semi-finals, Hampstead may yet count the cost of suffering successive defeats late in the season after going down 2-1 at East Grinstead the weekend before.
Nevertheless, Hampstead deserve credit for fighting their way back into the match after regular season champions Surbiton led 2-0 with five minutes on the clock, Hannah Martin scoring her seventh goal of the campaign after one minute and nineteen seconds and Eloise Stenner, doubling the visitors’ lead as the Hampstead defence was overwhelmed in the early minutes.
Fran Tew pulled a goal back for Hampstead on the half hour mark with her fifth goal of the season and Melanie Wilkinson equalised in the 43rd minute as the Surbiton defenders gathered to regroup and analyse how they had lost their two goal advantage, Hampstead having started the second half by dominating possession in the Surbiton 23.
The players and hardy spectators had to battle with changing weather conditions with the game starting and finishing in sunshine, in spite of a hailstorm during the third quarter which turned to rain before easing.
The winning goal came at the end of the third quarter, Georgie Twigg finishing off Surbiton’s second penalty corner to continue their momentum towards the playoffs as they aim to win their seventh successive league title.
East Grinstead visit Beeston before finishing the season with a home match versus Surbiton which potentially could see both teams go into the clash having won their last six games. Surbiton are at home to Clifton Robinsons, one of five teams at risk of finishing ninth and facing the loser of the Division One North and Division South playoff loser home and away in order to preserve their top flight status.
Hampstead visit Buckingham and host Beeston in their quest to pip East Grinstead to the runners-up spot.
Hampstead & Westminster:
Scorers: Fran Tew 30-F, Melanie Wilkinson 43-F
Squad: Rochelle Gianfrancesco (GK); Annabel Driver, Hayley Turner, Katherine Baker (Capt.),
Sarah Robertson, Lily Owsley, Lauren Turner, Emily Rowlands, Melanie Wilkinson, Grace Balsdon, Joanna Leigh.
Subs: Kate McCaw (7 mins), Fran Tew (7), Lucy Hyams (9), Holly Hunt (11), Fleur Horner (13).
Cards: Green: Lily Owsley (62 mins), Emily Rowlands (64 mins).
Scorers: Hannah Martin 2-F, Eloise Stenner 5-F, Georgie Twigg 52-PC
Squad: Sabbie Heesh (GK); Sarah Evans (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Hannah Martin, Emily Atkinson,
Ella Burnley, Emily Defroand, Erica Sanders, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins, Eloise Stenner.
Subs: Holly Payne (6 mins), Jenna Woolven (6), Susie Catlin (8), Holly Munro (8), Emily Guckian (9)
Match Official: Richard Chere.
Umpires: David Howell and Cathy Wright.