Vitality Women’s Hockey League Premier Division Review – 19 February 2022
Surbiton opened up a one point lead over East Grinstead at the top of the Vitality Women’s Hockey League Premier Division Top 6 after Steph Elliott converted a penalty corner with just three minutes remaining to snatch a 1-0 win at Wimbledon and snap the hosts’ five game winning streak. Wimbledon were also thwarted in their quest to knock the current league leaders off the top of the table for a third week running having previously dethroned Hampstead & Westminster and East Grinstead.
The two previous league leaders met in West Sussex where Hampstead failed to score in a Premier Division match for the first time since their promotion, having scored at least one goal in their previous 35 top flight matches before going down 3-0 at East Grinstead. Sophie Bray scored in the 21st minute with Robyn Bentley doubling East Grinstead’s lead just before half time, both goals coming from open play. Jo Westwood put the icing on the cake with a 51st minute penalty corner conversion
Comeback of the day came at Clifton Robinsons, where Beeston recovered from 2-0 down to win 3-2. Clifton were cruising after Catherine Macaulay and Phoebe Richards gave the hosts a 2-0 lead with open play goals in the 21st and 28th minutes respectively. Cerys Miller, who earned Beeston a point at leaders Surbiton a week earlier from a penalty corner, started the comeback with an open play goal four minutes before the interval before Beeston’s penalty corner routine earned the Nottingham club all three points, Lauren Burrell levelling in the 38th minute and Hannah Grieve putting Beeston ahead for the first time six minutes later.
Surbiton host East Grinstead next weekend, with Hampstead three points off the lead and Wimbledon five. Fifth placed Beeston now have a four point advantage over sixth-placed Clifton Robinsons.
In the Bottom 5…
Swansea’s match at the University of Birmingham was postponed until 20 March due to Swansea’s participation in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Challenge I in Sveti Ivan Zelina in Croatia. Buckingham’s first bye week was timed to allow them to compete in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy in Alanya, Turkey.
This left Loughborough Students v Holcombe as the only Bottom 5 fixture and Holcombe secured their third win in their last five matches after failing to win any of their first seven games, coming out on top 5-2 in Leicestershire. Tania Escaich scored all five Holcombe goals, converting a second minute penalty corner before doubling the lead from open play in the eighth minute. Loughborough fought back to level at 2-2 by half time, Alice Rolfe pulling a goal back on the quarter-hour and Ellie Mackenzie scoring just before the break, both goals from open play. But three goals from Escaich in a four minute period in the fourth quarter broke Loughborough hearts. Escaich scored twice in the 57th minute from a penalty corner and open play and completed the scoring with a 61st minute open play strike.
Holcombe avenged a 1-0 defeat in their Phase One visit and moved up to eighth, two points above Loughborough but having played a game more than all four of their fellow teams.
|3||Hampstead & Westminster||13||9||1||3||30||20||10||28|
|1||University of Birmingham||11||3||4||4||16||23||-7||13|