Saturday’s semi-final matches seemed a formality as both Surbiton and Hampstead & Westminster secured their places in this years National Final with relative ease.
The leagues top two sides meet again in what is a repeat of last years final, where Surbiton were the victors via the shootout to secure their 15th title.
Roll forward a year, Hampstead & Westminster look a stronger side, but are the strong enough to prevent Surbiton from their 16th Championship.
The match started at a high paced end to end affair with both goalkeepers coming up trumps to keep their team in the contest.
A 14th-minute green card to Surbiton’s Sam Spencer gave H&W the advantage, Rupert Shipperly carving through the opposing defence to win his side their 2nd penalty corner of the match. Upsteps the ever reliant Matt Guise-Brown firing high to the keepers right to give H&W the lead.
The half time interval came and went with little further action, H&W taking the upper hand and dominating possession, forcing Surbiton back into their own defensive zone.
Mark Pearne’s Surbiton side started the second half with their ears still ringing. A much higher tempo for the reigning champions, creating chances and now competing in all areas of the pitch.
H&W wasn’t going to sit back, Captain Toby Roach causing havoc in the Surbiton back line, winning his side another Penalty Corner. As so often this season, Matt Guise-Brown was on hand to extend the lead for the leagues second placed team.
Chances continued to fall for both teams with Chris Cargo and James Gall going close for their respective side.
It was Surbiton and Tom Sorsby next on the scoresheet, 2-1, Surbiton find a foothold in the match through some great individual skill down the left side. Sorsby entering the area along the baseline and cleverly deflecting the ball into the Hampstead & Westminster net off of Marc Edwards’ outstretched stick.
With two minutes left on the clock, Surbiton withdraw Harry Gibson from the goal to give the extra attacking advantage in search of the equalising goal. A number of close chances fell to Surbiton, before a Hampstead breakaway which saw Sam French shooting into the empty net to give an unassailable lead, and crowning Hampstead & Westminster the 2019 National Champions.
Speaking after the match Hampstead & Westminster Player-coach and Man of the Match Kwan Brown said “It was a great performance, we knew we had to put the past behind us and have the belief that we could win. We kept to our game plan and kept our emotions in check to ensure we didn’t give away any silly fouls and gift them chances”. “It’s a very proud moment for the club”. Said Kwan, referring to the maiden Championship Crown for the club in its 125-year history.