The formbook was overturned as Premier newcomers Loughborough Students outplayed a senior internationals’- studded Hampstead & Westminster outfit 4-2 at Bisham Abbey.
Hampstead started strongly and took the lead in the fourth minute through Sarah Robertson but Lucy Millington equalised three minutes later, diverting a left-wing cross into the far corner. When Alice Rolfe beat keeper Rochelle Gianfrancesco in the ninth minute after scything through a static Hampstead defence, Loughborough hit the post from their first penalty corner, and, from then on, the Students always looked the better side.
Their defence was rarely threatened, conceding only three penalty corners in the game, and they continued to maintain the pressure with a high tempo game. Two goals in six minutes after the interval, a close range effort from Izzy Petter and a penalty corner goal via a defender’s stick by Jane Kilpatrick virtually put the game beyond Hampstead. A direct corner strike by Emily Maguire in the 44th minute gave them some hope but they never looked likely to reduce the deficit with green cards to two Loughborough players in the last minute coming too late to help their opponents.
Hampstead head coach Sarah Kelleher admitted the Students were the better side while Students coach Brett Holland was in upbeat mood. “At the beginning of a season, after a high turnover of players, we are usually at the early stage of building a team but this season, with fewer newcomers, we are much further advanced,” he said.
Images: Mark Clews