WINDSOR ladies have become the team to beat this season after racking up an impressive eight wins on the trot.

A gutsy performance in a 1-0 home victory over rivals Maidenhead 3s puts them seven points clear at the top in Division One of the Trysports Hockey League.

Windsor set the pace early on with a terrific run from Maxine Bonnage but, with the keeper quickly off her line, the potential threat was shut down.

Captain Freya Hayter was at the heart of key moves and she looked like she would put her team ahead after a solo run and strike, but the shot was too close to the keeper who was able to kick to safety.

The hosts piled on the pressure with player-of-the-match Clare Mckinnel hassling and harrying the opposition in their own half while silky skills from Helen Edwards caused problems for the midfield.

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Lucy Smith gave the visitors a scare when she broke free from midfield and carried the ball into the D to win a penalty corner.

Frantic play followed the injection as Windsor were anxious to open the scoring and Maidenhead desperate to keep the ball out, with the defence finally able to clear from a crowded area.

Royal Borough Observer:

PHOTO: Windsor keeper Emma Cross recorded her fifth consecutive clean sheet in the win against Maidenhead.

The breakthrough came when a signature weaving run from Hayter saw her dodge defenders and beat the keeper with a slick reverse stick sweep on 24 minutes.

Maidenhead had their keeper to thank for the scores staying that way until half-time after a series of saves to deny the Windsor strike force.

The hosts were in control in a quieter second half and could have doubled the advantage following a tantalising ball drilled across the D by Sally Khoury. It needed the slightest touch but somehow managed to bypass both strikers and backs.

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Maidenhead did beak several times, but Windsor defenders Ellen Taylor, Jessi Nagi, Gerry Hyde and Debbie Campbell comfortably dealt with any attack. Keeper Emma Cross was barely tested as she notched up her fifth consecutive clean sheet.

Windsor have their toughest test when they travel to face second-placed Milton Keynes 2s in a top-of-the-table clash this Saturday.

Milton Keynes are also unbeaten in eight games and despite lagging on points they can make up the deficit by maintaining their winning streak as they have two games in hand.

Windsor 2s lost 3-1 against Sonning 4s despite taking an early lead at home.

The hosts dominated for the first 15 minutes as they took the game to their Berkshire rivals in a disciplined performance.

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The quartet of Annalies Hogan, Faye Kerr, Emma Thatcher and Alice Tredwell worked hard to try and get behind the solid Sonning defence with patient build-up play.

With the visitors able to repel close range shots, it took an exceptional move to beat the keeper. Hogan struck cleanly from the edge of the D and a clever deflection from Tredwell saw the ball over the line.

Stung by the goal, Sonning went on the attack and a runaway striker beat keeper Ruki Sayid in a one-on-one after dummying the already committed goalie to score.

Sonning could have had a second before half-time following a similar break but this time Sayid dived to save just ahead of the whistle.

The second half was evenly balanced with both sides keen to find the winner but neither able to break down the opposition.

Sonning were given the upper hand after being awarded a controversial penalty flick which was converted despite the keeper diving the right way and missing the ball by an agonising inch.

Windsor went for broke with nothing to lose and threw everyone forward while Sonning put everyone behind the ball to defend their narrow lead.

Their structure broke down however and a Sonning attack on the left flank killed off the game. The visitors somehow dug the ball out from the feet of the keeper to slide it over the line.

The defeat means Windsor remain in seventh position in the Division Three table and travel to face runaway leaders and promotion certainties Thames 2s - who have not dropped a point all season in a perfect winning record from 15 matches – this Saturday.

Windsor men beat West Hampstead 3s in a high-scoring 5-2 away win. Ali Parkes bagged a hat-trick while Martin Essery and Charles Lambert scored one each to keep the team in fourth place in the Middx, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Division Two.

The side host second-placed Amersham & Chalfont 2s this Saturday.

Windsor 2s lost 6-2 at home to leaders Reading University Knights 5s and travel to take on Staines in Division Five on Saturday.

The third team lost 5-1 to Banbury 4s and will host Aylesbury 3s in Division Six this Saturday.