Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 3 November 2018

SURBITON 21 BUCKINGHAM

Scorers: Georgie Twigg 26-PC, Alice Sharp 49-F
Squad: Grace O’Hanlon (GK); Giselle Ansley, Sarah Evans (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Hannah Martin, Emily Atkinson, Emily Defroand, Erica Sanders, Susie Catlin, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins.

Subs: Jo Hunter (7 mins), Olivia Chilton (7), Holly Payne (10), Ella Burnley (16), Phoebe Willars (19).

Umpires: Lelia Sacré and Clare White

Match Official: Ray Strudwick

Surbiton Ladies extended their lead at the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League to six points after beating Buckingham at Sugden Road on Saturday afternoon with their international players available for the last time before the Champions Trophy.

Buckingham’s defeat saw them drop to fourth as East Grinstead beat Canterbury 5-0 and Holcombe won 5-1 at the University of Birmingham to move up to second and third respectively.

Both teams attacked from the start in this top of the table clash, Kitty Higgins running at the Surbiton defence and Erica Sanders tackled by Buckingham’s Zoe Shipperley and Hannah Martin stopped by Katrina Nicholson.

Buckingham won both league encounters last season with relatively late goals, but this season, they took an early lead, Phoebe Richards crossing from the left for Lottie Porter to finish in the eleventh minute.

Surbiton had the chance to equalise in the 17th minute, Emily Defroand’s run and pass finding Olivia Chilton whose shot went agonisingly past the right post. Six minutes later, a slick passing move involving Georgie Twigg, Ella Burnley and Susie Catlin set up a scoring chance for Jo Hunter only for Buckingham goalkeeper, Ella Jackson to save the shot. Shortly afterwards, Hunter was denied again after shaking off Buckingham’s Lauren Thomas.

The equaliser came in the 26th minute, Twigg scoring her second penalty corner conversion goal of the season from a well worked routine.

In the second half, both teams resorted to a long passing game, but it was a moment of hockey magic which decided this tight encounter.

In the 49th minute, Alice Sharp went on a run down the left and into the circle, beating defenders before unleashing a ferocious shot into the roof of the net with a likely contender for the goal of the season award. The Buckingham defence was stunned and Surbiton’s supporters gazed in wide admiration of a goal worthy of winning any match.

The wonder strike earned Sharp the Man of the Match award, sponsored by LetsGo2.

Buckingham successfully defended seven Surbiton penalty corners in the match, blocking Giselle Ansley shots and Twigg and Erica Sanders subsequently frustrated at failing to score.

Buckingham had one chance of their own with eight minutes to play but Surbiton’s Robyn Collins cleared the danger as Surbiton came from behind to maintain their unbeaten record.

Beeston were held to a 1-1 draw by Slough whilst Bowdon Hightown stayed at the bottom of the table only due to a one goal inferior goal difference behind Canterbury following their 4-1 defeat at Clifton Robinsons. Clifton’s victory took them up to the dizzy heights of sixth, but just four points off the basement.

Surbiton visit Holcombe next Saturday (push back 2 pm).