Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 22 September 2018

SLOUGH 0-4 SURBITON

Scorers: Emily Defroand 19-F, 20-F; Jo Hunter 25-PC, Giselle Ansley 45-PC
Squad: Grace O’Hanlon (GK); Giselle Ansley, Sarah Evans (Capt.), Hannah Martin, Holly Payne, Emily Atkinson, Emily Defroand, Erica Sanders, Susie Catlin, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins.

Subs: Jo Hunter (6″), Lucy Holder (6″), Georgie Twigg (7″), Phoebe Willars (13″), Ella Burnley (14″).

Umpires: Caroline Frye and David Howell

Match Official: Thea Hitchcock

Surbiton Ladies began their defence of their Investec Women’s Hockey League title with a 4-0 win at Slough on Saturday. It was only the second time in the Premier Division that Surbiton had won their opening match of the season, having drawn their opening match for the last five seasons. The first victory came in their first ever top flight match, a 4-0 home win over Reading in 2012.

At Upton Court Road, Surbiton gave league debuts to four players: goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon who kept a clean sheet on her league debut; Phoebe Willars; Erica Sanders and Susie Catlin.

The first half was played in wet conditions with Slough putting the Surbiton defence under pressure for the first ten minutes and coming close to scoring. However, Surbiton weathered the storm and took control with three goals in six minutes.

Emily Defroand scored twice in as many minutes as the Slough defence was caught napping in the 19th and 20th minutes. Five minutes later, Jo Hunter extended Surbiton’s lead with a penalty corner deflection. Slough forced two penalty corners before Surbiton opened the scoring, Emma O’Nien going close from the first and O’Hanlon saving well from the second.

Sanders forced a fine save from Slough goalkeeper Mila Welch in the first half, Welch forced to parry away a rising shot from the left of the circle before Surbiton went into the half time break with a 3-0 lead.

The rain stopped at half time when Slough switched goalkeepers with Amber Lewsey taking over between the posts. Surbiton put together some flowing passing moves with Willars combining with Defroand only for a penalty corner to be awarded as Hunter shot at goal.

The resulting penalty corner was retaken after the Slough defenders broke from the line without penalty with the injector deemed to be at fault, but at the second attempt, Defroand’s shot was saved only for Giselle Ansley to put the rebound away in the 45th minute.

Surbiton had further chances to score with Hannah Martin shooting past the left post and Alice Sharp lifting the ball over the bar in the later stages of the match as the rain threatened to return but Surbiton ran out comfortable winners in the end.

Elsewhere, Holcombe beat Bowdon Hightown 2-0, Buckingham won 2-1 over East Grinstead, newly promoted Beeston were only denied a victory against the University of Birmingham when a late goal forced a 2-2 draw and Clifton Robinsons won 1-0 at Canterbury.

Clifton Robinsons are Surbiton’s next opponents at Sugden Road next Saturday (29 September) push back 4 pm.