Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Surbiton 1 Clifton Robinsons 0
Surbiton Ladies are the only team in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division with maximum points after the first two rounds of matches following their 1-0 home victory over Clifton Robinsons on Saturday.
Thankfully after the season started in wet conditions, the second weekend saw the sun come out to make both playing and spectating much more enjoyable.
Clifton had won 1-0 at Canterbury on opening day and another strong defensive performance saw them concede a single goal, Holly Payne crossing from the left for Izzy Petter, making her first national league appearance for Surbiton this season, to turn in from short range in the eleventh minute.
Clifton also successfully defended eight penalty corners as Surbiton found scoring more difficult after hitting the target four times against Slough on the previous weekend.
Goalkeeper Sarah Ellis, and excellent anticipation defence from Aileen Davis, Alexandra Ogilby and captain Hannah Coulson frustrated the Surbiton forward line which created several scoring chances but struggled with their finishing.
Surbiton captain, Sarah Evans had an early shot saved well by Ellis, with Olivia Chilton, also making her first national league appearance of the season, having a shot clip the left post in the second half. Hannah Martin also went close but the signs are that once the reigning champions start to gel, they will once again be the team to beat in the division.
Having signed New Zealand’s number two goalkeeper, Grace O’Hanlon shortly before the start of the season, Surbiton kept their second successive clean sheet.
Holcombe and Buckingham missed the chance to join Surbiton on six points as they drew 1-1 in Kent to go second and fourth respectively in the table. The University of Birmingham moved up to third after a 2-1 home win over Slough, the only team in the division to have lost their first two matches.
Bowdon Hightown and Canterbury drew 2-2 in Altrincham to earn their first point of the season, whilst Beeston went down narrowly, 2-1 at East Grinstead.
Surbiton visit East Grinstead next Saturday (6 October) as part of a men’s/ women’s double header. Surbiton will come up against former player, Sophie Bray, who rejoined the West Sussex club after a spell in the Netherlands with Kampong. Bray has scored in both of East Grinstead’s matches so should prove to be a test for the Surbiton defence.
Squad: Grace O’Hanlon (GK); Giselle Ansley, Sarah Evans (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Hannah Martin, Emily Atkinson, Ella Burnley, Emily Defroand, Erica Sanders, Susie Catlin, Robyn Collins.
Subs: Holly Payne (10 mins), Jo Hunter (11), Izzy Petter (11), Phoebe Willars (12), Olivia Chilton (17).
Cards: Green: Sarah Evans, Georgie Twigg.
Squad: Sarah Ellis (GK); Nicola Moss, Aileen Davis, Hannah Coulson (Capt.), Holly Savage, Maria Jones, Natasha Marke-Jones, Claire Thomas, Olivia Hopkisson, Victoria McCabe, Alexandra Ogilby.
Subs: Carol Middough (7 mins), Tara Chittenden (11 mins), Kitty Chapple (12), Louisa Bell (14).
Card: Green: Victoria McCabe
Match Official: Ray Strudwick
Umpires: Lelia Sacré and Cathy Wright.