Vitality Women’s Hockey League Premier Division Review – 5 February 2022
Hampstead and Westminster lost their second successive Premier Division match to drop to third as Phase 2 of the 2021-22 season began with the first weekend of Top 6 matches.
Having lost 3-2 at Surbiton in their final match of Phase 1, after winning their first nine games, Hampstead lost 2-1 at Wimbledon, their hosts gaining revenge for a 3-1 loss on the opening day of the season.
Hampstead led 1-0 after just four minutes, Lauren Turner opening the scoring from open play, only for Fiona Burnet to level for Wimbledon from a ninth-minute penalty corner. Burnet’s second goal of the match from open play in the 53rd minute proved to be the decider.
East Grinstead took advantage of Hampstead’s defeat to go top of the table by winning 2-1 at Beeston for the second time this season. In the first meeting, East Grinstead had led 2-0 before Beeston provided a late response, but this time the West Sussex club had to come from behind, Bea Bell giving the Nottingham club a seventh minute lead from open play. East Grinstead had to wait until a minute before the break to restore parity, Ellie Rayer equalising from open play and it was Rayer’s penalty stroke with seven minutes remaining which earned East Grinstead top spot.
Surbiton moved up to second courtesy of a 3-1 win in Bristol against Clifton Robinsons. Clifton were stunned as Sophie Hamilton gave Surbiton a fourth minute lead from open play; Martha Le Huray doubled the visitors’ lead two minutes later in the same manner and Leah Wilkinson’s 12th minute penalty corner conversion put the Sugden Road club firmly in control.
Livvy Hoskins pulled a goal back for Clifton from open play in the 58th minute, but Surbiton took all three points back to Surrey to join East Grinstead and Hampstead on 27 points with the top three teams separated by goal difference.