Clifton Robinsons Too Strong For L2 In Cup
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies 2nd Team battled hard against Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division side Clifton Robinsons in the England Hockey Tier 1 Cup quarter-final at Sugden Road on Sunday lunchtime, but Clifton's experience saw them win 3-1 to progress to the semi-finals.
Clifton have had plenty of knockout hockey experience over the years, but Surbiton made them battle all the way, Clifton needing an insurance goal with five minutes remaining whilst Surbiton fielded 11 outfield players.
Surbiton of the one division lower Division One South took a fifth minute lead with a superb finish from the left of the circle, visiting goalkeeper Aline De Visser completely beaten as Jess Dyson found the backboard.
Clifton were back level in the eleventh minute, Claire Jones poking home at the left post from open play.
Catherine Macaulay and Carla Dunnett had shots on goal in the first half and Surbiton's Tamera Cookman took adavantage of a turnover to make a threatening run into the circle, but after Jones had forced a save from home goalkeeper Louisa Bray from Clifton's second penalty corner, Pip Stewart put Clifton ahead for the first time in the match two minutes before half time, converting the visitors' third penalty corner at the left post.
Surbiton had penalty corners of their own but Elani Sherwood and Noa Armelin both found De Visser on top form as Clifton's fragile lead was preserved.
With nine minutes remaining and still trailing 2-1, Surbiton replaced goalkeeper Bray with an eleventh outfield player in an attempt to equalise and risk the lottery of a shootout, but Abi Porter killed the tie with a walk-in goal in the 65th minute.
To their credit, Surbiton didn't give up hope and forced two penalty corners with Bray on the bench, but couldn't find a much deserved second goal before the final whistle blew to confirm Clifton's progress to the last four.