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Hampstead & Westminster’s men draw on positives, while women see unbeaten run end

PUBLISHED: 08:55 01 November 2018

Hampstead & Westminster's Toby Reynolds-Cotterill denies Holcombe (pic Robert Cotterill)

Hampstead & Westminster's Toby Reynolds-Cotterill denies Holcombe (pic Robert Cotterill)

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Hampstead & Westminster had to settle for a point against Holcombe as their five-match winning run was brought to an end at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.

Hampstead & Westminster's Jonny Gooch on the attack (pic Robert Cotterill)Hampstead & Westminster's Jonny Gooch on the attack (pic Robert Cotterill)

The two sides had only conceded two goals each so far this season, so a high-scoring encounter was not to be expected.

But a good crowd witnessed a tense battle under the floodlights on a cold October night, with the hosts having the better of the early exchanges.

Sam French had a corner appeal turned down and Marc Edwards dragged a shot wide after driving into the D.

And dogged defending by the visitors ensured it remained all square at the interval.

Hampstead & Westminster players celebrate extending their unbeaten record (pic Robert Cotterill)Hampstead & Westminster players celebrate extending their unbeaten record (pic Robert Cotterill)

Defences continued to dominate in the second half, but Welsh star Jonny Gooch burst through some strong tackles to draw a foul in the D for the first corner.

Matt Guise-Brown’s drag flick was well saved, though, and the follow-up attempt went wide, before Holcombe answered with a chance of their own late on, which Toby Reynolds-Cotterill kept out with a great diving save.

And so it ended goalless and Hampstead were knocked off top spot by Surbiton, who now lead the way on goal difference.

The top two – the only unbeaten sides left in the Premier Division – meet this weekend in what is sure to be another thrilling encounter as Hampstead look to avenge their penalty shoot-out loss in last season’s final.

Hampstead & Westminster's Mel Wilkinson (pic Mark Clews)Hampstead & Westminster's Mel Wilkinson (pic Mark Clews)

The Hampstead women had a top-of-the-table clash of their own last weekend, but a long unbeaten run ended in dramatic fashion as they lost 3-2 at Cambridge City.

The visitors had chances to take the lead in a goalless first half, then fell behind as City netted from a short corner within a minute of the restart.

Hampstead levelled two minutes later as Fleur Horner fired a long ball into the D and Mel Wilkinson volleyed through the keeper’s legs.

But Cambridge regained the lead on the hour with a drag flick into the top right corner which looked set to be the winner.

Lucy Hyams converted from close range at a Hampstead corner two minutes from time, though, to suggest it might end all sqaure, only for the home side to win a last-gasp penalty flick, which Megan Crowson converted.

After a first loss since the 2016/17 season, Hampstead host Bedford and Southgate next.

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