Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Surbiton 2 Buckingham 1
Surbiton beat Buckingham 2-1 at Sugden Road on Saturday afternoon to open up a six point lead over both East Grinstead and Holcombe at the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Buckingham lost ground to drop from second to fourth after forcing Surbiton to come from behind before claiming all three points in a competitive top of the table clash.
Both teams showed early attacking intent with Buckingham’s Kitty Higgins running at the Surbiton defence and Surbiton’s Erica Sanders and Hannah Martin well defended by Zoe Shipperley and Katrina Nicholson respectively.
Giselle Ansley had an early penalty corner attempt saved, but it was Buckingham who took the lead from open play in the eleventh minute, Phoebe Richards crossing from the left for Lottie Porter to beat Surbiton goalkeeper, Grace O’Hanlon.
Surbiton came close to equalising in the 17th minute, Emily Defroand setting up a scoring chance for Olivia Chilton to send the ball agonizingly past the right post. Surbiton were back on level terms in the 26th minute, Georgie Twigg scoring her second penalty corner goal of the season from a well worked routine.
In the second half, both teams tried to play a long passing game, but the match was ultimately decided by a contender for goal of the season. In the 49th minute, Alice Sharp ran down the left before zeroing in towards the circle, outwitting Buckingham defenders all the way before unleashing a vicious shot which gave visiting goalkeeper, Ella Jackson no chance on its way into the roof of the net. Not only were the Buckingham defenders stunned but the spectators could only gaze in admiration of a wonderful individual goal.
Both teams had chances to score from late penalty corners, Surbiton’s Robyn Collins defending Buckingham’s only set-piece of the match eight minutes from the end, whilst in the 66th minute, Surbiton failed to take advantage of their seventh award, given after Defroand was brought down by Higgins.
East Grinstead moved up to second after a convincing 5-0 home win over Canterbury and Holcombe are now third after bouncing back from two successive defeats to win 5-1 at the University of Birmingham. Beeston are fifth following their 1-1 home draw with Slough and in a congested bottom half of the table where sixth to tenth are separated by just four points, Clifton Robinsons reached the dizzy heights of sixth with a 4-1 home win over Bowdon Hightown.
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).
Scorer: Lottie Porter 11-F
Squad: Ella Jackson (GK); Zoe Shipperley (Capt.), Kitty Higgins, Megan Lewis-Williams, Phoebe Richards, Frankie Scott, Lottie Porter, Katrina Nicholson, Natasha James, Eloise Laity, Rebecca van Arrowsmith.
Subs: Madeleine Newlyn (7 mins), Lauren Thomas (8), Alexandra Naughalty (9), Millie Holme (10).
Sub not used: Steph Tirrell (GK).
Cards: Green: Katrina Nicholson (54 mins), Kitty Higgins (66).
Match Official: Ray Strudwick
Umpires: Lelia Sacré and Clare White