Week 6 of the Vitality Women’s Hockey League produced a few surprise results and outstanding performances up and down the country as the Vitality Women’s Hockey League entertains once again.
In the Premier Division, Loughborough Students pulled off a surprise victory in the pick of the action. Starting the day second from bottom, they welcomed third-placed Clifton Robinsons to the midlands. With Clifton Robinsons enjoying one of their best starts to a campaign, today will go down as a day to forget. Lorna Mackenzie gave the hosts the lead in the fourth minute from the penalty spot before Becca Malyon hit a second less than a minute later. A green card for Phoebe Richards in the 32nd minute gave the hosts the extra player and one they would take full of advantage of with Maddie Goodman (33), giving her side a 3-0 lead going into the halftime break. Phoebe Richards (64-PC) scored late for the visiting side in what proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal.
Hampstead & Westminster were in goal-scoring form themselves when they met the University of Nottingham for the first time at The Paddington Recreational Ground. The visitors started strongly, Jodan Homann giving Nottingham the lead in the 13th minute from a penalty corner before Anna O’Flanagan (17) pulled her side back into the game. Merle Knobloch (19-PC) restored the lead for the University of Nottingham, a lead that would last less than 60 seconds before Lauren Hunt (20) scored the first of her hattrick. Hampstead & Westminster scored six more unanswered goals, with Lauren Hunt scoring her second in the 32nd minute, shortly after Holly Hunt (26) gave the London side the lead. Anna O’Flanagan also had a hattrick with goals in the 49th and 57th minutes, either side of a Lily Owsley strike in the 52nd. Lauren Hunt scored her third and Hampsteads 8th in the 62nd minute to round off the scoring.
Surbiton returned to winning ways with a one-sided 4-0 home victory over Reading at Sugden Road. Giselle Ansley opened the scoring for the hosts with a 17th minutes penalty corner before Hannah Martin (23) and Jessica Dyson (30-PC) extended the home side’s lead before the halftime break. Izzy Petter (38) scored three minutes into the second half to give her side an unassailable lead and all three points.
In their second-ever Premier Divison meeting and first at Stowe School, Wimbledon faced a Buckingham side struggling for form. Finding themselves at the bottom of the division without a point in their opening five games, Buckingham fell to another defeat against second-placed Wimbledon. Second-half goals for Jen Eadie (39-PC) and Suzy Petty (62) saw the visitors take all available points to keep the pressure on table-toppers Surbiton.
Beeston climbed the table into third with a victory over the University of Birmingham, an unbeaten run they have held when the two sides meet since 2014. Lucy Millington gave Beeston the lead in the 35th minute before Lauren Burrell (63) scored her fifth of the season to secure the win for the hosts and continue Beestons best start to a premier campaign.
East Grinstead pulled away, in the race for the top 6th, with a 4-2 home victory over Holcombe. The defeat for the Kent club sees them fall five points behind 6th-placed Clifton Robinsons.
In Division One North, Stourport moved to the top of the table with a convincing 4-1 win over Swansea, who were sitting third at the start of the day. Bowdon’s shock defeat to Gloucester City allowed Stourport to leapfrog the early pacesetter and open a two-point lead.
Surbiton 2‘s secured their first win of the season and the chance to climb out of the bottom two, defeating Cambridge City by a single goal.
Conference East still sees a two-way battle as leaders Southgate edge Guildford on goal difference, with three goals separating the sides. Guildford hit five past Horsham to close the gap at the top before Southgate responded with a 6-1 victory, of their own, over Bishop’s Stortford.
Olton & West Warwickshire extended their lead at the top of the Conference midlands as they played hosts to the University of Birmingham 2‘s in a first versus second encounter. Coming out on top in a 2-1 victory, Olton & West Warwicks extend their lead to four points.
Alderley Edge picked up their first point of the season as they welcomed Durham University 2‘s to The Edge. With both sides struggling at the bottom of the table and seeing out a 1-1 draw, the bottom three in the Conference North are starting to lose touch with those above them and are being dragged into an early relegation fight.
Team Bath Buccaneers took full advantage of early leaders Penarth dropping points to go top with a goalless draw against Isca & University of Exeter. With four teams now level, with 10 points each, Team Bath lead second-placed Penarth on goals scored.
Image by Graeme Wilcockson