Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 23 February 2019
SURBITON 2–0 HOLCOMBE
Scorers: Autumn Brown 26-PC, Jenna Woolven 58-F
Squad: Sabbie Heesh (GK); Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Holly Payne, Emily Atkinson, Ella Burnley, Olivia Chilton, Susie Catlin, Jenna Woolven, Alice Sharp, Izzy Petter, Michaela Curtis.
Subs: Emily Guckian (6 mins), Darcy Bourne (10), Autumn Brown (14), Peggy Winterborn (16), Natalie Maclean (41).
Umpires: Emma Shelbourn and Cathy Wright
Match Official: Thea Hitchcock
Surbiton Ladies returned to the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division following their 2-0 home win over Holcombe on Saturday afternoon.
Last season’s match was one of the few fixtures to survive the “Beast of the East” but in 2019, the climate was unseasonably warm for a February fixture.
Holcombe had gone to the top of the table a fortnight earlier following their 2-1 win at East Grinstead and Surbiton’s defeat by the same scoreline at Buckingham, but Surbiton even without their seven internationals, in China, put in a superb performance to secure the win and go above Holcombe with a three goal better goal difference.
Surbiton goalkeeper, Sabbie Heesh was called upon to make a save in the fifth minute in a game in which both teams attacked. Olivia Chilton was an early threat, youngster Darcy Bourne and Holly Payne combined and Bourne also had a shot kicked away by Holcombe goalkeeper, Rose Thomas as the game remained goalless.
Holcombe had also threatened with a second minute penalty corner, but Surbiton defended well.
Surbiton also had penalty corner opportunities, Holcombe’s Leah Wilkinson defending against Surbiton’s Jenna Woolven from the third.
However it was Surbiton’s fourth penalty corner which caused the deadlock to be broken, youngster Autumn Brown scoring her first goal for Surbiton in the 26th minute to put the home team ahead.
Defences were on top again in the second half in spite of both teams’ attacking intentions, but Surbiton suffered a setback when they lost captain Georgie Twigg to injury after being struck on the side of the head. Twigg walked off the pitch after a lengthy stoppage for treatment, but Surbiton continued to battle.
Bourne forced another save; Chilton set up a scoring chance for Payne which was also saved whilst Holcombe also attacked, Wilkinson ran towards the Surbiton defence. Trailing by just one goal, Holcombe were always in the match, with Surbiton needing an insurance goal. That goal came with twelve minutes remaining, Payne passing to Woolven to score her fifth goal of the season to become Surbiton’s leading league goalscorer.
Holcombe went close late in the game with Candice Manuel sliding in order to try and score, but Heesh kept her first clean sheet since returning from injury and Holcombe failed to score in a league game for the first time this season. Surbiton’s victory also ended Holcombe’s run of six successive league victories, the second having been a 1-0 home win over Surbiton when Manuel scored the only goal.
East Grinstead returned to third with a 2-0 home win over Buckingham. Clifton Robinsons moved up to fourth from sixth thanks to their 3-0 home win over Beeston. Buckingham dropped from third to fifth and Beeston slipped from fifth to sixth as the top six teams all changed places in a game of IWHL musical chairs.
Seventh placed Bowdon Hightown moved to within two points of Beeston courtesy of their 2-1 win at Canterbury, a defeat which leaves the Kent club four points adrift of ninth placed Slough and eighth placed University of Birmingham after Slough drew 2-2 with Birmingham.
Next Saturday, Surbiton visit the University of Birmingham (push back 1.15 pm).