Investec Women’s Hockey League Championships Final
SURBITON 1–0 HOLCOMBE
Scorers: Giselle Ansley 24-PS
Squad: Sabbie Heesh (GK), Giselle Ansley, Sarah Evans (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Holly Payne, Emily Defroand, Erica Sanders, Alice Sharp, Izzy Petter, Robyn Collins, Michaela Curtis.
Subs: Hannah Martin (5 mins), Susie Catlin (6), Olivia Chilton (7), Emily Atkinson (8), Ella Burnley (14), Jenna Woolven (14).
Sub not used: Tess Shahbo (GK).
Umpires: Hannah Harrison and Emma Shelbourn
Surbiton Ladies made history by winning the Investec Women’s Hockey League Championships title for the sixth successive season in an otherwise disappointing final.
The only goal came in the 24th minute following a foul on Surbiton’s Hannah Martin which led to a penalty stroke award which Giselle Ansley calmly slotted past Holcombe goalkeeper, Rose Thomas.
Although Martin came close to giving Surbiton an early lead, only to see her shot rebound off the woodwork, both teams largely cancelled each other out in a goalless first quarter, with defenders well placed to intercept or stop potential attacks.
Surbiton had more possession in the first half of a tactical battle, although Holcombe forced a penalty corner within seconds of the start of the second quarter, Jo Westwood forcing a fine save from Surbiton’s goalkeeper, Sabbie Heesh.
The start of the second half saw Holcombe force another save from Heesh, this time from Sarah Jones, but Erica Sanders proved to be an attacking threat for Surbiton in the third quarter, Thomas saving one shot; Sanders then combining with Alice Sharp before the ball careered across the circle and then forcing another save.
Although the match was naturally tense due to the prize at stake, sportsmanship also played a part, Holcombe’s Leah Wilkinson winning possession from a bully contested with Surbiton’s Georgie Twigg and then giving possession back, Surbiton having had a possession interrupted due to concern over Holcombe’s Emma Trunks.
Sanders had a shot over the Holcombe crossbar as Surbiton sought a second goal, but managed to run down the clock successfully, even though Holcombe gave Trunks a kicking back bib to replace Thomas for the last 227 seconds to find an equaliser and force a shootout.
Holcombe therefore became the latest team to top the IWHL Premier Division table at the end of the regular season and fail to follow up by winning the playoffs and collect the league trophy. Surbiton are the only team to have achieved this, on four occasions, having won their first title after a third place finish and now winning a sixth title as regular season runners-up.
Surbiton will compete in the inaugural Women’s EHL in 2020 having beaten Holcombe for the third successive season following two consecutive 3-1 victories over the past two seasons.
In defending their title, Surbiton will face Hampstead & Westminster and Loughborough Students, both promoted via the Promotion Tournament after winning the Conference East and Conference North respectively.
Slough were relegated to Division One following a 3-0 defeat to Loughborough in their final match, losing out on goal difference to finish third in spite of having six points along with Hampstead and Loughborough. Slough had led the table going into the final round, but Hampstead beat Stourport 7-1 to join Loughborough in the top flight next season.
More infomation about the IWHL finals can be found here
And more information about the Promotion Tournament can be found here