League leaders Surbiton kept up their unbeaten record at Hampstead & Westminster with a 2-0 win at Paddington Rec to kickstart their Phase 2 account.
Goals from Meg Dowthwaite and Leah Wilkinson took Surbiton’s winning streak to 11 since their opening day defeat in September.
It was the first time in nearly a year that H&W had failed to score in a Premier Division game as Surbiton won for the fourth successive time at their London rivals.
They also opened up an eight-point gap at the top of the league after Reading went down 4-1 at home to East Grinstead.
The West Sussex side, who sit third in the Top Six table, have now won six of their last seven meetings at Sonning Lane. On Saturday, Tess Howard scored a double to set them on their way, either side of penalty corner finishes from Grace Balsdon and Alex Malzer.
East Grinstead captain Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort said: “The team performance was great across the pitch and the energy was really good.
“We were able to be consistent across the game and it was a great start to Phase 2 for us. The team dynamics with the return of the GB girls added a lot of hockey value.”
University of Nottingham secured their first victory since late October, courtesy of a 2-1 win at home to Bowdon.
Maddie Axford and Jordan Homann netted for the hosts after Rosie Threadgold had given Bowdon the lead. Defeat left Bowdon without a win in eight.
In the Lower Six, Beeston’s 1-0 victory over University Birmingham ended a run of nine games without a win since their home win over East Grinstead in September.
Mads Newitt’s strike proved the difference as James Sordillo’s side scored their first clean sheet of the season.
Clifton Robinsons completed the league double over Isca with a lively 3-2 win at home on Saturday.
Livvy Hoskins opened the scoring in the first minute before Victoria McCabe levelled for the visitors. Holly Munro restored Clifton’s lead a minute later and Amy Burton gave the hosts a 3-1 lead at the break.
Georgie Gardens scored in the 57th minute to give Isca a lifeline but Clifton held on to stay one point behind Wimbledon in the Lower Six table.
Lucy Holder netted a 66th-minute winner for Alex Danson’s side in a 3-2 victory – their fourth of the season by a single goal margin – at Loughborough Students.
Fiona Crackles and Amelie Rees had earlier given Wimbledon the lead after Maddie Goodman’s 22nd-minute opener for the students.
Old Georgians stayed top of the Men’s Premier Division on goal difference over Surbiton after contrasting wins, as Phase 2 kick started into action on Saturday evening.
Old Georgians beat Holcombe 3-2 in Weybridge. Matthew Brown and Alan Forsyth had given the hosts a 2-0 lead before Thomas O’Keefe and Alex Pendle fired Holcombe level. But Lee Morton’s 54th-minute goal secured the points for Old Georgians.
“You could tell it was the first game after the winter break,” said Forysth. “It was a bit scrappy in some respects. But there was intensity and effort from both teams, the scoreline reflected the tight game and it was great to get the win.
“With Phase 2 and heading into Phase 3 with all the top teams it will be great preparation for us heading into the Euro Hockey League.”
Old Georgians’ victory saw them accrue a 10-game winning streak, while defeat was Holcombe’s first after a run of four straight wins.
Meanwhile, Surbiton racked up their ninth win in a row after a Struan Walker hat-trick set up a 4-0 win at Southgate.
Walker now has 21 goals from 12 games, while Luke Taylor also netted on Saturday as Surbiton summoned their fifth clean sheet of the season.
Wimbledon’s fine form also continued as Hampstead & Westminster suffered their third home defeat in four.
Wimbledon are also on a six-game winning streak and, like Surbiton, also served up a fifth clean sheet this season.
In the Lower Six, East Grinstead lead Oxted by one point in the race for a top two position and qualification for Premier Division Finals.
East Grinstead secured a league double over Cardiff & Met, with a 3-2 win in the Welsh capital.
Hugh Pembroke, Max Lowrey and Simon Faulkner, in the 66th minute, netted for the visitors, bookended by Cardiff goals, in the eighth and last minute, from Ioan Wall and Jack Pritchard.
University of Nottingham won their first point of the season and were only denied all three after Guy Morgan’s 70th-minute goal for hosts Oxted in a 2-2 draw.
Peter Caughey had opened the scoring for UoN in the 12th minute before debutant Michael Royden-Turner levelled up. Edward Brice restored Nottingham’s lead in the 43rd minute before South African Morgan’s late leveller.
Reading recorded only their second win of the season after a 3-2 victory at Beeston, who nearly pulled back a point against the odds.
Michael Chapman and a double from Ben Hooper – his second in the 60th minute – saw Reading into a 3-0 lead. Henry Croft then scored in the 69th and 70th minute but Beeston’s late rally came too late for a thrilling comeback.
*All Stats provided by Colin Pike