Hampstead get back to winning ways on return

Hampstead & Westminster's Joie Leigh (pic Mark Clews)

Hampstead & Westminster's Joie Leigh (pic Mark Clews) - Credit: Archant

Hampstead & Westminster’s women and men got back to winning ways on their return to action at the weekend.

Hampstead & Westminster's Chris Cargo (pic Mark Clews)

Hampstead & Westminster's Chris Cargo (pic Mark Clews) - Credit: Archant

Both suffered losses before the international break, when five of their members helped Great Britain secure places at the Tokyo Olympics, but rebounded ahead of this weekend's double-header with leaders Surbiton.

The women welcomed Lily Owsley and Sarah Robertson back from GB duty to host Bowdon on Saturday and held firm in the face of early pressure.

Joie Leigh opened the scoring with a well-worked penalty corner routine, deflecting the ball high into the net, and tapped in following Owsley's powerful run to take her tally for the season to a Premier Division high of seven.

Roxy Gianfrancesco was intrumental in keeping Bowdon's off the scoreboard and tookk the woman of the match award as it ended 2-0 to Hampstead, who will now hope to end Surbiton's eight-match winning run.

Hampstead & Westminster's Harry Martin attacks (pic Mark Clews)

Hampstead & Westminster's Harry Martin attacks (pic Mark Clews) - Credit: Archant

Hampstead's men had Harry Martin, Will Calnan and Jacob Draper back in their squad for the trip to improving University of Exeter on Sunday and took the lead after just 12 seconds.

Player-coach Kwan Browne's aerial pass found captain Chris Cargo on the 25-yard line and he swapped passes with Sam French before slotting through the keeper's legs.

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Matt Guise-Brown made it 2-0 from a penalty corner six minutes later and he rifled a drag flick into the top corner before the end of the first quarter to widen the gap further.

Hampstead continued to exert pressure on the Exeter defence which paid off on the 27-minute mark when a fluffed penalty corner injection was calmly collected and played around the D for two-time Olympian Martin to finish at the back post for his first goal of the season.

Despite their 4-0 goal at the break, the second half was a different matter for Hampstead as they failed to convert any more chances. And Exeter's hard work was rewarded 10 minutes from time as a nice counter attack move resulted in a penalty corner, which was converted with a low, powerful flick into the bottom corner as it ended 4-1.

The defending champions will also hope to end the 100 per cent record of their Surbiton rivals when they meet in a top of the table clash on Saturday, before East Grinstead visit Paddington Rec on Sunday.