Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 3 February 2018

LEICESTER 12 SURBITON

Scorers: Giselle Ansley 10-PC, Hollie Pearne-Webb 40-PC
Squad: Giselle Ansley, Sarah Haycroft (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Hannah Martin, Emily Atkinson, Beckie Middleton, Hollie Pearne-Webb, Holly Payne, Alice Sharp, Anabel Herzsprung, Ellie Shahbo (GK).

Subs: Jo Hunter (7″), Emily Defroand (7″), Olivia Chilton (10″), Ella Burnley (14″)

Umpires: Gill Lord and Cathy Wright

Match Official: John Anderson

Surbiton Ladies resumed their Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division campaign with a 2-1 win at Leicester on Saturday.

Hollie Pearne-Webb made her first appearance for Surbiton this season and new signing Anabel Herzsprung made her outdoor league debut for the club having previously played in Barcelona and in the Jaffa Super Sixes Division One tournament.

The game was played in bitterly cold temperatures with brief threats of snow visible within the raindrops falling at Leicester Grammar School.

Surbiton went close to taking the lead within seconds of the start, Holly Payne forcing a save from Leicester goalkeeper, Caitlin Jeffries from the visitors’ first attack. Surbiton dominated possession with Hannah Martin also forcing a save.

Anabel Herzsprung and Sarah Haycroft combined to set up a scoring chance for Georgie Twigg, yet in spite of all their attacking enterprise, Surbiton had to rely on their penalty corner routine to break the deadlock.

Giselle Ansley found the backboard in the tenth minute with the first of thirteen penalty corner awards in the match as Surbiton forced penalty corners at will.

Surbiton continued to attack with Twigg finding Olivia Chilton, whose shot went wide of the left post and Beckie Middleton found Haycroft who also shot past the left post.

Although it seemed that it would only be a matter of time before Surbiton doubled their advantage, it was Leicester who made the most of one of their rare attacks to equalise in the 15th minute. Elizabeth Honarmand’s shot from the left of the circle could only be touched by Surbiton goalkeeper, Ellie Shahbo as the ball rocketed into the top right corner of the goal.

Ansley and Surbiton’s various penalty corner routines were thwarted in the rest of the first half, with Jeffries and the Leicester defence keeping out three further efforts before half time.

At the start of the second half, Surbiton nearly scored again from their first attack, this time Martin’s shot going wide of the goal. Again, Surbiton’s penalty corner proved to be effective, but this time it was Pearne-Webb’s turn to find the backboard and score what was to prove the winning goal five minutes into the second half.

Surbiton forced a further eight penalty corners in the second half but the various routines were thwarted, either with saves, shots going wide of the goal, re-awards and on one occasion as block on the line by Leicester’s Rachael Mack.

The longer Surbiton held on to their single goal lead, the more anxious Leicester became to try and snatch at least a point, Surbiton’s Emily Defroand defending a late penalty corner award.

There was a fair amount of relief when the final whistle blew to signify Surbiton’s victory.

On Saturday, East Grinstead moved up to second courtesy of their 3-1 win at Slough, Chloe Palmer, who has just joined the West Sussex club scoring the first goal. Another former Surbiton player, Hannah Coulson earned a point for Clifton Robinsons in a 1-1 draw with Canterbury, now just one point behind ninth placed Leicester.

Holcombe lost ground with a 2-1 defeat at Bowdon Hightown, now in sixth place and five points above the relegation playoff place.

East Grinstead trailed Surbiton by four points but were replaced in second place on Sunday by the University of Birmingham, 4-0 winners over Buckingham. Former Surbiton player, Katelyn Aitchison opened the scoring with Lily Owsley and two late goals from Erica Sanders, pushing East Grinstead down to third and Buckingham to fourth. Surbiton’s lead over the University club is three points.

Surbiton play Canterbury next Saturday (10 Feb) push back 2 pm. The teams drew 2-2 on the opening day of the season at Polo Farm.