Hampstead & Westminster women book first trip to League Finals
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead & Westminster’s women had mixed fortunes on a big double-header weekend in the Investec League Premier Division.
Looking to cement their hold on second place, after losing to Buckingham, they headed to Holcombe and took an early lead thanks to Hayley Turner's quick reactions at a penalty corner.
Rochelle GIanfrancesco made some brilliant saves on her way to player of the match honours, with Fran Tew doubling Hampstead's lead with a moment of magic before half time.
Lauren Turner made it 3-0 at the far post, but the hosts hit back in the final quarter, before Fleur Horner's late short corner strike sealed a 4-1 win and top-four spot for a first-ever trip to the League Finals.
Joie Leigh put Hampstead ahead in Sunday's clash at third-placed East Grinstead, but Olympic gold medalist Sophie Bray hit back with a brace for the hosts as they closed to within one point of the Maida Vale outfir with three games left to play.
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Hampstead host newly-crowned champions Surbiton at Paddingto Rec on Saturday.
The men also had a double header and claimed maximum points to maintain their hopes of catching second-placed Wimbledon.
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A first-half hat-trick from Matt Guise-Brown put them on their way to a 5-0 win at bottom club Reading on Saturday, with Jonny Gooch and Sam French also on target.
And Sunday's clash with fourth-placed old Georgians turned out to be a thriller, as Hampstead avenged a last-minute loss from their earlier meeting.
Two teams packed full of international talent battled it out, with Guise-Brown beating GB's George Pinner from a penalty corner on 13 minutes.
Richard Smith doubled Hampstead's lead by converting another corner before half-time, but Old Georgians changed things up in the third quarter and Sam Ward nettted in the 41st minute.
Hampstead came under considerable pressure in the third quarter following a yellow card for captain Toby Roche, but held onto their lead and then dominated the final session.
After enjoying a lot possession and a series of scoring opportunities French sealed a 3-1 win in the 60th minute to leave them one point behind Wimbledon.
Hampstead also return to Paddington Rec on Saturday to take on the University of Exeter, who are on a good run of form since the winter break.