Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 11 November 2017
SURBITON 1–2 BUCKINGHAM
Scorer: Sarah Page 40-F
Squad: Grace Lawes (GK), Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Jo Hunter, Emily Atkinson, Beckie Middleton, Sarah Page, Chloe Palmer, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins, Ella Burnley, Holly Payne.
Subs: Izzy Petter (6″), Stephanie Addison (7″), Olivia Chilton (17″), Natalie Maclean (24″). Sub not used: Lizzie Gittens
Umpires: David Howell and Lelia Sacré
Match Official: James Boylan
Surbiton Ladies lost their second Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division match of the season, 2-1 at home to Buckingham on Saturday.
Surbiton are now locked together with the University of Birmingham at the top of the table with both teams having identical records. Birmingham beat Leicester 4-1 with former Surbiton players Harriet Mitchell and Holly Munro on the scoresheet.
Buckingham consolidated their third place with the victory, although with three matches due to be played on Sunday, four teams can potentially cut the gap from the current five points to two.
Buckingham inflicted Surbiton’s first home defeat since 15 February 2014 when Leicester were 2-0 winners, and ended a 32 game unbeaten run at previously fortress Sugden Road.
Although Surbiton were without five England internationals currently in Auckland to compete in the Hockey World League Final tournament, the selected squad, including Lizzie Gittens on her debut, should have had enough quality to secure a win.
Instead, Buckingham’s tight defence restricted the number of scoring chances that Surbiton could create, with the visitors able to convert two late penalty corner conversions to steal the win.
Surbiton dominated possession in the first half, with Sarah Page’s third minute shot deflected over the crossbar, and Buckingham defenders Frankie Scott, Rebecca van Berkel and Emily Rowlands all dispossessing Surbiton’s forwards in the circle.
Surbiton’s penalty corner routine also failed to catch fire from their two awards in the first half. Two minutes before half time, Beckie Middleton forced as save from Buckingham goalkeeper, Ella Jackson and a minute later, as Buckingham passed the ball across the circle, Middleton just mistimed her diving attempt to intercept and deflect the ball home. Holly Payne also came close to scoring late in the half with a shot just past the left post.
Going into the second half goalless, Surbiton faced some early pressure from Buckingham before taking the lead. Page found the backboard from the right of the circle in the 40th minute to break the deadlock and seemingly ease the pressure on the league leaders.
However Buckingham’s defence stayed tight throughout the second half as they withstood Surbiton’s attacks and kept themselves with a chance of getting something out of the game.
With seven minutes remaining, Surbiton still led 1-0 but the last six minutes saw Buckingham turn the match around thanks to their penalty corner routine.
Ironically in the 63rd minute, Surbiton had the chance to double their lead from a penalty corner, but a mistrap, although recovered by Payne saw the chance wasted.
A minute later, Buckingham equalised, Kitty Higgins finishing off a well worked routine, with Surbiton’s Alice Sharp watching from the sin-bin having seen the hosts’ first yellow card of the season.
Page joined her in the sin-bin after seeing green in the 66th minute. That wasn’t the end of the drama as Buckingham forced a last gasp penalty corner which was converted by Lauren Thomas, the Buckingham players jumping in the air with delight, knowing that they were close to a famous victory.
When the final whistle blew to confirm Buckingham’s victory there was a contrast between Buckingham’s delight and Surbiton’s despair.
On Sunday, Canterbury host Bowdon Hightown in a probable relegation battle; Clifton Robinsons are at home to East Grinstead and Slough travel to Holcombe.
Surbiton Ladies are at home to Wapping in the England Hockey Championships Tier 1 Competition first round. Wapping dropped to second in the East League Premier Division after losing 3-1 at Ipswich, the new leaders. Push back at Sugden Road is at 2 pm.