After being in the Premier Division for only two seasons Surbiton has lifted the Investec Women’s Championship trophy with a gutsy 3-0 victory over high-flyers Canterbury. In the game before, Reading brushed off yesterday’s disappointing defeat with a 6-0 victory over Clifton in the third/fourth Championship play-off.

Canterbury 0 (0)

Surbiton 3 (1)
Emily Atkinson 2 (PC)
Hollie Webb 53 (PC)
Jenna Woolven 57 (FG)

Surbiton dominated from the off but a resilient Canterbury battled right to the end. Surbiton’s first goal came just four minutes in from a penalty corner; Chloe Strong’s initial shot was saved but Emily Atkinson managed to net the rebound to give Surbiton an early 1-0 lead. A few minutes later Surbiton were awarded their second penalty corner but this time were unable to convert.

The second quarter saw more chances for Surbiton to extend their lead, however it was Eliza Brett of Canterbury who perhaps came closest to a second goal of the game firing her shot just wide of the post. The second quarter continued with further chances for Surbiton in what was a frustrating quarter for the Surrey team who were unable to capitalise on their chances.

The start of the third quarter continued with both sides vying for possession. Canterbury had their chances to bring the game level, but a great run from Beckie Herbert down the right resulted in a penalty corner for Surbiton in the dying seconds of the quarter. Georgie Twigg almost made it a second goal for her team but her shot was saved by Helen Fagg and it was Hollie Webb who followed up on the rebound to ensure Surbiton went into the last quarter with a 2-0 lead.

Surbiton’s third and final goal came courtesy of a great ball from goal scorer Atkinson to Jenna Woolven who slotted the ball into the net to score her third of the weekend. Surbiton came close to a fourth with Twigg, Charlotte Calnan and Sarah Page all nearly scoring, but Fagg stood strong in the Canterbury goal. The final score ended at 3-0, much to the delight of the Surbiton Barmy Army who had come in force to support their side.

Surbiton’s league victory ensured they not only claimed the Investec Women’s Championship but also guaranteed them their place in Europe next season.

Speaking after the match, an elated Georgie Twigg commented “We are absolutely over the moon, we fought our hearts out against Reading yesterday and got the result and then came out today against Canterbury, a tough opposition and put in another good performance; we’re all absolutely thrilled. There are players that hadn’t been selected for this weekend but have played an integral part of the season, so it’s really been a whole squad effort and I’m really proud of all the girls.”

Reading are England’s representatives in the EHCCC to be held in ‘s Hertogenbosch 18th-21st April and they will no doubt be pushing for top ranking points to protect England’s slot in the top flight European women’s championship.

Source material: England Hockey

Photograph: Surbiton’s Captain, Sarah Haycroft lifts the Investec Women’s Champions Cup, (England Hockey/Ady Kerry (c))