Vitality Women’s Hockey League Premier Division Review – 2 April 2022
Surbiton duly won their eighth successive Vitality Women’s Hockey League Premier Division title on the penultimate weekend of the Top 6 season, but went into their match at East Grinstead already crowned as champions after Hampstead & Westminster, the only team who could mathematically catch the Sugden Road club, lost 2-0 at home to Beeston, Cerys Miller scoring from open play in the 47th minute and Hannah Grieve cementing the win with a 55th minute penalty corner conversion.
Darcy Bourne’s seventh minute open play goal gave Surbiton a 1-0 win at Saint Hill to earn their third win of the season against the West Sussex club and leave the Premier Division top goalscorer competition poised with Bourne and East Grinstead’s Sophie Bray level on 18 goals.
Wimbledon took advantage of Hampstead and East Grinstead’s defeats to move into the all-important second place with a comprehensive 6-1 home win over Clifton Robinsons. Eliza Brett gave Wimbledon a 15th minute, with Fiona Burnet doubling the lead six minutes later. Captain, Harriet Naismith ensured Wimbledon turned round with a 3-0 lead courtesy of her 35th minute goal. Sarah Jones scored Wimbledon’s fourth in the 40th minute, but although Claire Jones scored what turned out to be a consolation goal from a 50th minute penalty corner, Burnet completed her hat-trick with goals in the 55th and 59th minutes, all six Wimbledon goals coming from open play.
On the final weekend of the season, when all three games will start at 2 pm, Wimbledon, on 38 points visit Surbiton; Hampstead & Westminster on 37 points, host East Grinstead on 36 with a further twist in the race for Europe likely.
In the Bottom 5, Swansea, although relegated, claimed their second win of the season, 2-1 at Holcombe. Swansea had previously lost 4-1 in Kent and drawn 1-1 in Wales, but Katrin Gierak gave the Welsh club a 47th minute lead from a penalty corner after a goalless first half. Emma Bandurak equalised with a 53rd minute penalty corner conversion, but Swansea were not to be denied, Jessica Lea snatching the win from open play in the 59th minute.
Buckingham dramatically prevented the University of Birmingham from claiming a third win of the season against the Stowe School club, Maddie Newlyn levelling at the death after Jemima Copeman gave Birmingham a 47th minute lead, both goals coming from open play.
With the restructuring of the league season extending the regular season schedule into April, these were the first Women’s Premier Division matches played in the month of April since 6 April 2013, when Leicester beat Slough 4-1 in a rearranged game. The match was originally postponed on 23 March due to snow and could not be played earlier because Leicester had competed in Europe over Easter.
|3||Hampstead & Westminster||19||12||1||6||43||30||13||37|
|1||University of Birmingham||16||6||6||4||25||26||-1||24|