Ten years after winning the Surrey Ladies League Premier Division, Surbiton Ladies will show how much progress that they have made in that period when they compete in the European Clubs Champions Cup in Bilthoven, in the Netherlands, this Easter.
Surbiton face Spanish side, Club De Campo in Friday’s quarter-final (push back 10.30 am local time) as England’s top ranked team, after winning last season’s Investec Women’s Premier Division title with a 3-0 win over Canterbury at Sonning Lane, Reading.
Canterbury will also be in Bilthoven as England’s second ranked team, but with the tough task of overcoming hosts, SCHC in the fourth and last quarter-final on Friday.
Both English clubs can thank Leicester for being able to compete in the same competition, the East Midlands club having won the lower ranked Trophy at Loughborough last June. The tournament victory boosted England’s European ranking to second, behind the Netherlands, allowing them to enter two teams in the higher ranked competition, the Cup.
Surbiton’s Jo Hunter was a member of the triumphant Leicester squad last season, and joins her new team-mates on their maiden European venture.
Surbiton themselves have no pressure on them, in spite of being able to boast an unbeaten record in domestic hockey this season. both indoors and outdoors. Their first tournament will be very much a learning curve for a team in their third season in the top flight of English hockey.
Regardless of their quarter-final result, Surbiton will face either Dutch club, HC’s Hertogenbosch or Russian club, CSV Izmailovo, the team which lost 2-1 to Leicester in last season’s Trophy final. German club Rot-Weiss Köln and Irish club, UCD (University College Dublin) complete the eight team field.
If Surbiton reach the semi-finals, they will play on Saturday, and if they have to settle for a classification match, then they will play on Sunday. The final round of matches take place on Monday.
However they fare in Bilthoven, Surbiton will return to the UK determined to defend both their league title and the cup which they won last season. Surbiton take on Reading at Lee Valley on 18 April, and play either Canterbury or Clifton for the title, or third place on the Sunday.
And then the following week, Surbiton will meet Clifton in the Investec Women’s Cup final, also at Lee Valley, before Surbiton’s second team takes on Beeston in the EH Second XI Final, immediately afterwards on 25 April.
The EHCCC tournament website can be found at: http://ehccc2015.com/
The schedule, and downloadable Match Report Forms for each match after it is played, can be found at the EHF website at: http://www.eurohockey.org/competitions/eurohockey-club-champions-cup-bilthoven-women-2015/