Surbs aim­ing for another dou­ble ti­tle

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

SUR­BITON Hockey Club’s men and women be­gin the de­fence of their na­tional ti­tles to­mor­row when they com­plete in a dou­ble-header fix­ture at Can­ter­bury, writes Colin Pike.

Sur­biton Ladies, win­ners of the In­vestec Women’s Hockey League Cham­pi­onships for the last four sea­sons, play at 4pm, fol­lowed by the men – who lifted the Men’s Hockey League Cham­pi­onships by beat­ing Wim­ble­don in a shootout af­ter com­ing back from 3-0 down with ten min­utes to play – at 6pm.

Sur­biton Ladies will be with­out Beckie Mid­dle­ton, who is in New Zealand play­ing for Auck­land in the Ford Na­tional League along­side for­mer Sur­biton player and New Zealand in­ter­na­tional Ju­lia King.

Both Can­ter­bury teams will be ea­ger for a good start af­ter dis­ap­point­ing sea­sons.

Can­ter­bury Ladies lost three Cham­pi­onship fi­nals in a row be­fore fin­ish­ing sev­enth last sea­son and the club’s men had to bat­tle for their top-flight sta­tus via the Pro­mo­tion Tour­na­ment for a sec­ond sea­son run­ning. Sur­biton Ladies will have the EuroHockey Club Cup to look for­ward to at the end of the sea­son and whilst the men had to with­draw from the Euro Hockey League due to fears their in­ter­na­tional play­ers would be un­avail­able due to a clash with the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games, they have the con­so­la­tion of trav­el­ling to Switzer­land in Fe­bru­ary to take part in the top di­vi­sion of Euro­pean In­door Hockey.

The do­mes­tic cur­tain raiser comes on the heels of a busy sum­mer for the club’s in­ter­na­tional stars.

Eng­land’s women and men came back from the Rabo EuroHockey Cham­pi­onships in Am­s­ter­dam with bronze medals, beat­ing Ger­many to avenge ear­lier de­feats.

How­ever Scot­land’s women were rel­e­gated to EuroHockey Cham­pi­onships II af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing tour­na­ment.

Eng­land’s women fin­ished sec­ond in their pool af­ter beat­ing Ire­land 4-1, los­ing 1-0 to Ger­many and de­feat­ing Scot­land 2-0 thanks to goals from Sur­biton’s Jo Hunter – pic­tured – and Giselle Ans­ley.

But the world num­ber two-ranked side’s hopes of re­tain­ing the ti­tle were ended by hosts the Nether­lands in the semi-fi­nal, with a 1-0 de­feat.

Sur­biton’s Han­nah Martin scored the first goal in a 2-0 win over Ger­many – who in­cluded Sur­biton Ladies head coach Brett Gar­rard as an as­sis­tant coach for the tour­na­ment.

Sur­biton’s Emily De­froand, Sarah Hay­croft and Hol­lie Webb also picked up bronze medals.

Eng­land’s men beat Poland 6-0 be­fore los­ing 4-3 to Ger­many in a thriller, hav­ing come back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2.

A 2-1 vic­tory over Ire­land in which Sur­biton’s David Good­field equalised clinched sec­ond place in the pool and a semi-fi­nal against the Nether­lands.

A 3-1 Dutch vic­tory meant a re­match with the Ger­mans for bronze and in another thrilling game, Eng­land won 4-2. Sur­biton’s Bren­dan Creed supplied an aerial pass out of de­fence to set up Eng­land’s third goal and club­mate Harry Gib­son col­lected a medal as Eng­land’s re­serve goal­keeper.

Scot­land women, in­clud­ing Sur­biton’s Robyn Collins, were rel­e­gated from the top flight af­ter fin­ish­ing bot­tom of the rel­e­ga­tion pool.

The Scots lost 4-1 to Ger­many and drew 0-0 with Ire­land be­fore their meet­ing with Eng­land and car­ried for­ward the point from the goal­less draw to the rel­e­ga­tion pool.

But a 1-0 loss to Spain was fol­lowed by the same re­sult against the Czech Re­pub­lic in a game in which vic­tory would have seen Ire­land rel­e­gated in their stead, on goal dif­fer­ence.

Pete Gard­ner AN171831

Andy Nais­bitt in ac­tion for Cam­ber­ley in Satur­day’s 69-13 derby win at home to Farn­ham – rugby, see page 26

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