EHL: Surbiton win back ENglish women’s title

Surbiton won their ninth English title in 10 seasons to become the first team to qualify for next season’s EHL Women’s FINAL12 as they defeated Hampstead & Westminster 3-1 in their championship final on Sunday.

Madi Ratcliffe scored a super opener for her 16th goal of the season in the first half but Surbiton turned the game on its head with three goals in the second half from Leah Wilkinson, Alice Sharp and Sophie Hamilton.

** Report by Lucas Ball/England Hockey; picture: England Hockey

The victory came in front of Surbiton’s home supporters a year after they lost in the Final to East Grinstead at the same event. 

David Beckett’s side created the vast majority of the chances throughout with Miriam Pritchard making multiple saves in the opening period to deny Giselle Ansley and Megan Dowthwaite. 

Ratcliffe, though, gave David Cooper’s side the lead against the run of play six minutes into the second quarter, striking a first-time reverse low into the far corner past Amber Walton. 

Hamilton could have levelled almost immediately for the perennial champions but fired over from close range on the reverse before Wilkinson blocked a Ratcliffe drag-flick from a penalty corner. 

Ansley saw another effort blocked shortly after half-time before a dummy variation at another penalty corner gave Wilkinson space to slap into the far corner midway through the third quarter. 

Soon after, Paris 2024 hopeful Amy Costello struck a reverse effort narrowly off-target at yet another corner, leaving the two sides level heading into the final period. 

Sharp was on hand to finish off another variation routine early on in Q4 as she deflected Wilkinson’s slap past Pritchard before Wales great Wilkinson saw another effort cleared off the line. 

Costello then saw a drag-flick swatted away with Pritchard having been withdrawn before Hamilton scored a great goal to make sure of the win with two minutes to go, beating multiple defenders before firing a reverse into the top corner. 

The win puts Surbiton just two titles behind Slough’s all-time record of 11 ahead of Leicester in third with six Premier Division wins.

By EHL Hockey TV

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