England: Vitality Women’s Hockey League Week 5 2022 Review

Week 5 of the Vitality Women’s Hockey League produced a few surprise results and outstanding performances up and down the country as the Premier Division entertained once again.

Wimbledon closed to within one point of league leaders Surbiton with a 2-1 victory at home, ending the 946-day run without an away loss for the visitors. Megan Crowson opened the scoring in the third minute from the penalty spot to give Wimbledon the perfect start. Darcy Bourne (23) equalised in the 2nd quarter for Surbiton before Fiona Burnet restored Wimbledon’s lead in the 40th minute, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, making them the only unbeaten side in the division.

The University of Nottingham had a day to remember as they entertained the crowds at the Nottingham Hockey Centre with a goal fest, beating Buckingham 8-3 and condemning the visitors to their fifth consecutive loss of the season. In the match’s early stages, both sides exchanged goals as Holly Nixon opened the scoring in the third minute for Nottingham before Caroline Spence equalised three minutes later. Eliza Wheeler (10) restored the University’s lead, one that would only last three minutes when Spence grabbed her second of the game. Jordan Homann gave her side the lead going into the first break with a 17th-minute penalty corner, her first goal of a hattrick. The second quarter saw three goals without reply for the University as Katie Curtis (21-PC, 24) scored a brace, and Homann (30) scored her second. The second-half goals were more spread out as Lyndsey White (42) pulled one back for Buckingham before Claudia Swain (45) and Homann (56-PC) gave the hosts the commanding victory.

Clifton Robinsons missed the chance to draw level on points at the top of the division when they were held to a 1-1 draw with East Grinstead. Goals from Izzy Webb (35) for Clifton Robinsons and Tess Howard (62) for East Grinstead ensured the points were shared. Beeston took advantage of the draw in  Bristol to move up to fourth, level on points with third-placed Clifton Robinsons, after tasting victory for the first time at Holcombe Park. The defeat for Holcombe drops them to ninth in the table, three points off that all-important top-six spot. Lauren Burrell (8, 29) scored a brace, and Rosy Stephens (60) were on hand for the midlands side, while Tania Escaich was on the scoreboard for the hosts.

Reading followed up on their first point of the season last week with a fine display at Sonning Lane as they produced their biggest performance, beating the University of Birmingham 4-1. An early goal from Phoebe Nixon (4) settled the nerves before Mia Moore (21-PC), and Georgia Hopkins (33) gave the Berkshire club a comfortable three-goal lead at the halftime break. Delyth Thomas gave the University of Birmingham some short-lived hope in the 65 minute before Moore scored her second just two minutes later to restore the three-goal advantage.

Loughborough Students‘ run of never winning at The Paddington Recreation Ground continued as they went down 3-0 to Hampstead & Westminster. Melanie Wilkinson (35), Olivia Hamilton (38-PC) and Grace Balsdon (53) with the goals for the home side.

Header image by Andy Smith

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