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Hampstead & Westminster’s women seek perfect 10 wins going into Christmas break

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 November 2017

Hampstead & Westminster's Annebeth Wijtenburg hits out (pic Mark Clews)

Hampstead & Westminster's Annebeth Wijtenburg hits out (pic Mark Clews)

Archant

Hampstead & Westminster’s all-conquering women will look to make it a perfect 10 wins out fo 10 in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference East when they welcome Bedford to Paddington Rec on Saturday.

They reached the midway point of the season with a ninth straight win last weekend, thanks to a 2-1 victory at Sevenoaks.

And that left them and Premier Division side Beeston as the only teams in the National League to still boast 100 per cent records at this stage.

Sevenoaks had won their first eight matches of the season to sit in second place behind Hampstead on goal difference only and their top-of-the-table encounter certainly lived up to all expectations.

It was always going to be a tight affair with neither team wanting to lose ground on their title rival, but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock first, with London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Emily Maguire finishing off a well-worked penalty corner move after 15 minutes.

Cheered on by their huge home support it didn’t take long for Sevenoaks to get themselves back on level terms just four minutes later, through Maddie Thompson.

And the match remained in the balance until just before the hour mark when Hampstead regained the lead thanks to yet another well-worked corner from their 29-year-old Scottish international Maguire.

The home side removed their goalkeeper in the closing minutes of the game and the move nearly paid off as they forced a string of short corners, only to find the Hampstead & Westminster defence in dogged mood, with goalkeeper Rochelle Gianfrancesco pulling off some magnificent saves to seal all three points.

The result capped off a stunning first half of the season for the in-form north London club, who have now beaten every other team in the league to open up a three-point gap at the summit.

And Hampstead will go into their match against Bedford, who have won just two of their nine matches, in confident mood as they bid to make it 10 wins before top-flight hockey moves indoor for the Christmas break.

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