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