Investec Women’s National Premier League
Holcombe HC 4-2 Clifton Robinson’s HC
Scorers: Holcombe HC: Ellie Watton, Quanita Bobbs, Rebecca Titmuss, Emily Beeney.
Clifton Robinson’s HC: Jessica Bloom, Joanna Leigh.
Holcombe Park, Rochester
With both sides enjoying a week-long hiatus from domestic action, Holcombe re-started their campaign at home to Clifton Robinson’s on Saturday lunchtime.
The West-Country outfit have started the season strongly, winning 4 of their opening 6 games to sit 4th in the table going into Saturday.
With the absence of key signing Alex Danson, fresh from her Olympic triumph in Rio this summer, Clifton Robinson’s would look to Great Britain star Joanna Leigh to provide their firepower in front of goal.
Second-placed Holcombe went into Saturdays clash full of confidence after their Derby win away at Canterbury before the break as they looked to stay in touch with early leaders Surbiton. With the prospect of leading the division at the end of the day if results went their way, both sides went into the contest desperate for a valuable 3 points.
A strong opening period from both sides saw the game played at a frantic pace.
With Holcombe enjoying the majority of possession, a blistering counter attack on 19 minutes saw them take the lead. An early ball from Captain Leah Wilkinson was played down the line to Ellie Watton who cut inside the final defender before unleashing a vicious backhand strike.
Half an hour into the contest, Holcombe continued to enjoy success down the right flank and were rewarded with their second. A ball through to the baseline found Leigh Maasdorp who managed to play the ball across the face of goal for Quanita Bobbs to pounce in front of her defender and send the hosts into the break with a two goal cushion.
With a refreshed outlook for the second period, Clifton came out firing and earned themselves an early penalty corner seven minutes into the half. A slick worked move saw the ball deflected high into the net by Jessica Bloom to throw the game wide open.
Holcombe responded and pushed forward in search of an all-important third goal as the result hung in the balance.
With nerves beginning to build, two goals in 3 minutes from teenagers Rebecca Titmuss and Emily Beeney secured the points.
On 62 minutes, a fierce ball in from Captain Leah Wilkinson was deflected in by Titmuss before, 3 minutes later, Beeney converted from close range after another Maasdorp cross.
With the result and the points secured, Clifton won an overtime penalty corner that Jo Leigh duly converted with a straight strike for a deserved consolation.
The win sees the Kent side retain their second place in the league after Surbiton also picked up maximum points at the weekend.
Speaking after the game, Holcombe Head Coach Kevin Johnson said; “We are very happy with the win as our games against Clifton are always competitive affairs. It was especially pleasing to see our improved passing and movement result in four open play goals, an area we have been keen to improve our consistency in. I am delighted to see two home-grown juniors on the score sheet too, which is a credit to both their efforts and our club junior development programme.”
Next weekend, Holcombe face the long trip north to Manchester to face Bowdon Hightown who currently sit eighth in the Premier League and will be looking to secure all three points once again in their longest away trip of the season.
Pictures supplied by www.groutphotography.co.uk