Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 17 November 2018
CANTERBURY 1–2 SURBITON
Scorers: Alice Sharp 15-F, Georgie Twigg 51-F
Squad: Grace O’Hanlon (GK); Phoebe Willars, Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Emily Atkinson, Ella Burnley, Olivia Chilton, Emily Defroand, Susie Catlin, Alice Sharp, Izzy Petter, Robyn Collins.
Subs: Hannah Denison (12 mins), Holly Payne (15), Emily Rowlands (22), Stevi Fisher-Norton (31).
Umpires: Lelia Sacré and Rebecca Woodcock
Match Officials: Thea Hitchcock
Surbiton Ladies maintained their three point lead over Holcombe at the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division but had to come from behind to beat bottom club Canterbury at Polo Farm on Saturday.
Holcombe joined Surbiton on 19 points courtesy of their 3-1 win at Beeston in advance of the push back at Canterbury, but Surbiton had to be patient against a stubborn Canterbury defence before being able to restore their three point lead.
Surbiton gave Stevi Fisher-Norton her first appearance following her return from the University of Birmingham, both squads consisting of fifteen players. Canterbury were without leading goalscorer Grace Balsdon, on Great Britain duty in China earlier in the day in a 2-2 draw against the hosts.
However Canterbury, looking for their first win of the season after drawing three of their first eight games, relied on veteran, Mel Clewlow to give them a fifth minute lead with a penalty corner conversion. Clewlow celebrated in front of the loyal Canterbury supporters.
Holding the lead, Canterbury tried to frustrate the Surbiton forwards, however, Alice Sharp shot past the right post. On the quarter-hour, Sharp forced a save from Canterbury goalkeeper, Helen Fagg and shortly afterwards, after some good attacking play by Phoebe Willars, Sharp equalised for Surbiton in determined fashion.
Canterbury continued to defend but Olivia Chilton broke through only to shoot wide of the right post. Although Surbiton did most of the attacking, Canterbury still posed a threat, counter attacking after Surbiton’s second penalty corner saw a shot from Robyn Collins blocked by Sophie Pinney, who also blocked a shot from Emily Atkinson shortly before half time.
Canterbury also went close with crosses from the right, Elizabeth Jenkins’ cross eluding everyone in the circle in the 30th minute, with another opportunity going begging a minute later, the teams going in at half time level at 1-1.
In the second half, Surbiton had to remain patient, but Canterbury’s defence was undone in the 51st minute, Surbiton captain, Georgie Twigg keeping possession with a run in the circle before slipping the ball past Fagg and against the backboard to earn all three points.
Canterbury didn’t give up, but Surbiton ran out the clock at the end of the match with an attack rather than trying to waste time holding the ball in the corner, to seal the victory.
Surbiton’s Player of the Match, sponsored by LetsGo2 was Izzy Petter.
Holcombe also came from behind to win 3-1 at Beeston, whilst East Grinstead moved up to third with a 3-2 win at the University of Birmingham. Buckingham dropped to fourth with a 2-1 home defeat to Clifton Robinsons, now fifth after a third successive win.
Beeston slipped to sixth after the Holcombe defeat, but have a five point advantage over the University of Birmingham, Slough and Bowdon Hightown, who are only separated by goal difference having seven points. Slough drew 2-2 with Bowdon Hightown.
Canterbury are now four points adrift at the bottom of the table at the halfway point of the season.
Next Saturday, Surbiton play their last league game of 2018 when they host Beeston in the first game of a men’s/ women’s doubleheader, push back 4 pm. Surbiton won 3-1 when the teams met in Nottingham.