Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Slough 0 Surbiton 4
Surbiton Ladies began their quest for a sixth successive Investec Women’s Hockey League title with a comfortable 4-0 win at Slough.
Slough kept their top flight status via the Promotion Tournament last season and in aiming for a higher place finish this season, signed Lucy Wood from Holcombe among several signings to replace players lost due to pregnancy and career changes. Flora Walker, Kitty Baccanello and goalkeeper Mila Welch also made their Slough league debuts.
Having lost Beckie Middleton and Sarah Page at the end of last season, Surbiton also needed to add to their squad in the last national league season under the current format before restructuring takes place to fit in with the new FIH Pro League.
Phoebe Willars, Susie Catlin, Erica Sanders all made their league debuts in Surbiton shirts alongside New Zealand’s number two goalkeeper, Grace O’Hanlon, a late signing for the Sugden Road club.
After an initial ten minutes when the Surbiton defence was under pressure and Slough came close to scoring, Surbiton scored three goals in a six minute spell in the first half to take control of the match.
Emily Defroand struck twice in as many minutes from open play with goals which the Slough defence will be disappointed to have conceded in the 19th and 20th minutes, before Jo Hunter’s deflection from a penalty corner in the 25th minute gave Surbiton a 3-0 half time lead.
Slough had threatened from two penalty corners before Surbiton broke the deadlock, but Emma O’Nien shot wide and O’Hanlon made a fine save.
The first half had been played in steady rain with the floodlights switched on, but the second half was played in drier conditions, Surbiton adding a fourth goal in the 45th minute, Defroand denied a hat-trick by goalkeeper, Amber Lewsey, who replaced Welch at half time, before Giselle Ansley put away the rebound from a penalty corner.
Hannah Martin and Alice Sharp had further chances to extend Surbiton’s lead near the end of the match as the rain threatened to return, but Surbiton settled for a 4-0 win in Berkshire.
Surbiton host Clifton Robinsons, 1-0 winners at Canterbury, on 29 September (push back 4 pm).
Squad: Mila Welch (GK); Harriet Ward, Lucy Wood, Lizzy Totten, Laura Bailey, Flora Walker, Kathryn McGonigle (Capt.), Melissa Ball, Emma O’Nien, Katie Jurdon, Kitty Baccanello.
Subs: Rochelle Lewsey (7 mins), Bryna Holmes (8), Lou Bevan (13), Amber Lewsey (GK) (36).
Cards: Green: Laura Bailey (42 mins). Yellow: Melissa Ball (70 mins)
Scorers: Emily Defroand 19-F, 20-F; Jo Hunter 25-PC, Giselle Ansley 45-PC
Squad: Grace O’Hanlon (GK); Giselle Ansley, Sarah Evans (neé Haycroft) (Capt.), Hannah Martin, Holly Payne, Emily Atkinson, Emily Defroand, Erica Sanders, Susie Catlin (neé Gilbert), Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins.
Subs: Jo Hunter (6 mins), Lucy Holder (6), Georgie Twigg (7), Phoebe Willars (13), Ella Burnley (14).
Card: Green: Georgie Twigg (18 mins).
Match Official: Thea Hitchcock