Surbiton Ladies will face Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division rivals, Clifton Robinsons in the first ever Investec Women’s Tier One Final on Saturday at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre (push back 3 pm).
The new competition, part of the new restructuring of knockout competitions allowing teams of all levels to compete for national titles at the iconic venue, effectively replaces the Investec Women’s Cup and Second XI Cup.
Surbiton Ladies 2nd XI, 5-0 winners over Clifton Robinsons in last year’s final, were knocked out by IWHL Conference East club Barnes on penalties.
Surbiton Ladies beat Wapping 7-1, East Grinstead 2-1, St. Albans 2-0, all at Sugden Road; Hampstead and Westminster in a delayed quarter-final, 4-2 at Paddington Rec and then returned to Sugden Road to beat Brooklands Poynton 2-0 in the semi-final.
Clifton Robinsons beat IWHL Conference West champions, Stourport on penalty strokes after a 1-1 draw away from home and then beat Cheltenham 8-1 and Gloucester City 2-1 at Coombe Dingle. Clifton Robinsons then beat Reading 2-0 in their quarter-final and then needed penalties to beat Buckingham after a 2-2 draw in the semi-final, again both ties held at Coombe Dingle.
The final will be the fourth meeting in knockout competitions between Clifton Robinsons and Surbiton. The teams first met at Sugden Road at the semi-final stage in 2012 when Amy Bryant gave Surbiton, the IWHL Confrerence East champions that season, a 1-0 win with a goal nine minutes from time. Surbiton went on to go down 4-1 to the University of Birmingham in the final at Cannock.
In 2015, Surbiton beat Clifton Robinsons 3-2 at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in a thrilling final. Jenna Woolven opened the scoring in the second minute before Aileen Davis equalised in the 24th minute. Abi Robinson restored Surbiton’s lead in the 49th minute, only for Harriet Pearce to equalise with 12 minutes remaining.
Surbiton’s heroine that day was Beckie Middleton, whose 67th minute goal gave Surbiton the league and cup double for a second successive season.
Surbiton’s hopes of a hat-trick of Investec Women’s Cup titles was sensationally ended by Barnes, then in the South Clubs’ Women’s Hockey League Division One with a stunning 1-0 home win.
After that setback, normal service was resumed in 2017 when Surbiton won 5-0 in the last Investec Women’s Cup Final
Tickets for all three days of the knockout finals weekend, including Surbiton M4’s Tier Four final against Bebington 2nd XI on Monday (push back 10 am) can be bought from the England Hockey website