Saturday 19th September – England Hockey Women’s Premier Division
Two goals from GB under-23’s Lottie Ross helped last season’s champions Surbiton to a 3-0 victory over Buckingham on the opening day of the new Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Crowned champions for the seventh consecutive time last season, Surbiton took the lead through Eloise Stenner from a penalty corner in the 33rd minute.
Ross, making her return to Surbiton after a stint with Beeston and the University of Nottingham, bagged her first goal 11 minutes later and sealed victory with just one minute left on the clock.
Two promoted clubs clashed as Division One South champions Wimbledon showed their firepower with a 4-0 defeat of Division One North champions Swansea.
The home side were two goals up at the break with Fiona Burnet taking an early chance on five minutes. Georgie Blackwood doubled Wimbledon’s advantage just before the half-hour mark.
After the restart, Suzy Petty made it three before Anna Reynolds converted a penalty stroke on her Wimbledon debut. But the result was marred somewhat with Wimbledon’s Eliza Brett being taken to hospital with a head injury.
Last season’s runners-up East Grinstead have made comparatively few changes to their squad over the summer, and it was familiar faces Tess Howard and Sophie Bray who scored their goals as they beat Clifton Robinsons 2-1 away from home.
Howard struck in the 15th minute and Bray added a second just after the hour mark.
Kathryn Lane pulled one back for Clifton just four minutes later but East Grinstead held on for all three points.
Finishing just two points behind East Grinstead last season, Hampstead & Westminster were 2-0 winners at Beeston with second half goals from Holly Hunt and Lucy Hyams steering them to victory.
Holcombe hosted Loughborough Students in the day’s final game and it was a closely-fought match with Izzy Petter’s 14th minute field proving enough to give the Students victory.
Women’s Hockey League (Sat, 19 September 2020):
Premier Division: Beeston 0, Hampstead & Westminster 2; Clifton Robinsons 1, East Grinstead 2; Holcombe 0, Loughborough Students 1; Surbiton 3, Buckingham 0; Wimbledon 4, Swansea 0.
Sunday 20th September – England Hockey Men’s Premier Division
A last gasp penalty corner from Nick Bandurak helped Holcombe snatch a dramatic victory over Old Georgians, winning 3-2 in their opening match of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Holcombe were 2-0 ahead at half time thanks to goals from in-form Bandurak, before Ashley Jackson and Sam Ward struck for the Georgians to bring the game level midway through the second half.
However, Bandurak completed his hat-trick in the final seconds to help his side take victory with the last play of the match.
Elsewhere, reigning champions Surbiton kicked off their campaign in emphatic style with an 8-1 victory over Brooklands MU.
England and GB international Luke Taylor stole the show, scoring five penalty corners, while other goals came from Ben Boon, Arjan Drayton Chana and Rob Farrington. Peter Flanagan scored Brooklands MU’s only goal.
The University of Exeter played last season’s runners-up Hampstead & Westminster in an action-packed game which saw the visitors come away 5-3 victors.
Sam French and Charlie Taylor traded early goals to make it 1-1, but Hampstead & Westminster took the lead with Hywel Jones scoring on 21 minutes. Matt Guise Brown added goals on 25 and 32 minutes, while James Oates’ 29th minute strike gave then a 5-1 advantage.
The University of Exeter pulled one back on 50 minutes through a Duncan Scott penalty stroke, and Max Sydenham made it 5-3 on 56 minutes, but there was to be no comeback.
Wimbledon and Beeston played out another thriller, with Chris Proctor scoring a late penalty corner to secure Beeston a point away from home.
The game was level at half time at 1-1 with debutant Rory Patterson’s 14th minute field goal being cancelled out by a penalty corner strike from Adam Dixon five minutes later.
Sam Apoola gave Beeston the lead on 41 minutes, but Ian Sloan levelled the game on 52 minutes. Patterson’s second goal edged Wimbledon back in front, but Proctor’s late goal ensured a share of the spoils.
East Grinstead played Premier Division newcomers Oxted, and ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Luke Emmett and Louis Gittens, while Tim Guise-Brown scored for Oxted.
Men’s Hockey League (Sun, 20 September 2020):
Premier Division: East Grinstead 2, Oxted 1; Holcombe 3, Old Georgians 2; Surbiton 8, Brooklands Manchester University 1; University of Exeter 3, Hampstead & Westminster 5; Wimbledon 3, Beeston 3.