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Hampstead climb after French gives out lesson

PUBLISHED: 15:30 06 March 2020

Sam French celebrates (pic Mark Clews)

Sam French celebrates (pic Mark Clews)

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Hampstead & Westminster’s men moved up to second in the Premier Division with a 6-3 win over University of Exeter at Paddington Rec.

Josh Kelly celebrates (pic Mark Clews)Josh Kelly celebrates (pic Mark Clews)

Having secured their top-four berth and a trip to the League Finals, the defending champions saw Jonny Gooch hit the crossbar before the visitors had touched the ball.

However, Kiran Patel put the students ahead with a deft finish, before Sam French and Josh Kelly replied either side of the first break to put Hampstead 2-1 up.

The last five minutes of the first half were littered with mistakes from both sides, leading to five more goals.

Rhys Bradshaw's stunning backhand squared matters, before Matt Guise-Brown netted his 20th goal of the season from a short corner.

Fran Tew celebrates (pic Mark Clews)Fran Tew celebrates (pic Mark Clews)

Charlie Taylor got Exeter back on terms from the restart with another impressive reverse-stick finish, but French struck twice in quick succession to complete his hat-trick and make it 5-3.

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Will Calnan added the only goal of the second half, picking up a loose ball and rifling a shot over the shoulder of the onrushing Seager Green for the goal of the game ahead of a trip to East Grinstead this weekend.

Hampstead's women hosted newly-crowned champions Surbiton, needing a win to stay ahead of their East Grinstead rivals in the race for the runners-up spot.

Melanie Wilkinson jumps for joy (pic Mark Clews)Melanie Wilkinson jumps for joy (pic Mark Clews)

And they were soon on the backfoot, conceding two goals in the first five minutes due to some quick and opportunistic attacking from the Surbiton forwards.

The hosts regrouped at the first break and scored their first goal as Fran Tew slotted past Sabbie Heesh inside the near post.

The change in momentum gave Hampstead confidence to attack with speed via Joie Leigh and Sarah Robertson in the midfield, while Rochelle Gianfrancesco made some fantastic saves at the other end to keep out Surbiton on the counter-attack.

Hampstead equalised soon after the restart as a perfectly weighted pass to the back post found Melanie Wilkinson to score but other chances went begging and Surbiton took their chance as Georgie Twigg converted a penalty corner at the end of the third quarter.

Hampstead pushed, but couldn't find an equaliser and slipped to third, as East Grinstead beat Loughborough Students, ahead of a trip to Buckingham.

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