Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 9 February 2019
BUCKINGHAM 2–1 SURBITON
Scorer: Jenna Woolven 37-F
Squad: Sabbie Heesh (GK); Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Holly Payne, Emily Atkinson, Susie Catlin, Jenna Woolven, Alice Sharp, Izzy Petter, Natalie Maclean, Michaela Curtis, Ella Burnley.
Subs: Olivia Chilton (7 mins), Hannah Denison (8), Darcy Bourne (11), Stephanie Addison (13), Alice Klugman (19).
Umpires: Caroline Frye and Andy Poulain
Match Official: James Boylan
Surbiton Ladies dropped to second place in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division after Buckingham came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at Stowe School and Holcombe did the same at East Grinstead to open up a three point lead over the reigning champions.
With seven players currently participating for Great Britain in the FIH Pro League and having lost goalkeeper, Grace O’Hanlon to play for New Zealand in the same competition, Surbiton gave a league debut to New Zealand international Michaela Curtis and saw Sabbie Heesh return in goal for the first time since March 2017.
The first half saw few chances with defences on top, although Jenna Woolven forced a save in the second minute as Surbiton dominated possession and Alice Sharp forced two saves from Buckingham goalkeeper Ella Jackson, including a fine glove save towards the end of the first half. Curtis was also unlucky as a cross from the right just evaded her outstretched stick.
Buckingham’s Madeleine Newlyn also had a shot saved by Heesh in the 27th minute of a first half devoid of any penalty corner awards.
The deadlock was broken at the start of the 37th minute when Woolven, having scored twice on her previous appearance at Beeston in October, gave Surbiton the lead with a quality finish which gave Jackson no chance.
Buckingham responded in the 42nd minute when their leading goalscorer, Natasha James fired home from the right of the circle to delight the home supporters with her sixth league goal of the season.
Both teams finally forced two penalty corners in the second half, Surbiton’s first award coming shortly after Stephanie Addison just failed to take the opportunity to slot the ball home from close range. The second award resulted in Natalie Maclean’s shot stopped by a Buckingham defender, Holly Payne having a shot saved and the ball eventually raised over the bar.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Woolven was frustrated as her shot went wide of the goal. In the 58th minute, Newlyn and Phoebe Richards combined to attack the Surbiton defence which failed to clear, resulting in Richards scrambling the ball home for what proved to be the winning goal.
Buckingham calmly cleared the ball in the final minutes as Surbiton stepped up their attacks in the attempt to find an equaliser, but Buckingham saw their fifth home game out of six end with a 2-1 margin, securing their third win after previous victories over East Grinstead and Bowdon Hightown; Beeston and Clifton Robinsons having won 2-1 at Stowe School.
Holcombe went top thanks to penalty corner conversions by Leah Wilkinson and Emma Trunks, (although Wilkinson has been officially credited with both goals) after Sophie Bray gave East Grinstead the lead at Saint Hill, all the goals coming in the second half.
Beeston beat Bowdon Hightown 2-1, whilst the other two Premier Division games ended in draws, the University of Birmingham drawing 2-2 at home to Clifton Robinsons and Canterbury drawing 1-1 at Slough.
Surbiton play Buckingham again on Sunday, this time at Sugden Road (push back 1 pm) in the England Hockey Tier One competition.
Next Saturday, East Grinstead are Surbiton Ladies’ next opponents in the first half of a men’s/ women’s double header, with the ladies playing at 4 pm and the men at 6 pm.