Double delight for Surbiton as ladies clinch fourth successive Investec Women’s Hockey League Finals championship

Surbiton are the Investec Women’s Hockey League Finals champions once again after overcoming a stubborn Holcombe 3-1 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre today.

Following on from the men’s dramatic victory earlier in the day, goals from Giselle Ansley, Beckie Middleton and Naomi Evans secured yet another trophy for the south west London side and confirmed their status as one of the best English club sides.

Not that it was easy going against the Kent-based outfit though – the first half was a particularly tense affair, with both defences showing remarkable discipline as neither side was awarded a penalty corner until the 25th minute.

However Sarah Haycroft’s side eventually managed to wear down their opponents and emerge from the final victorious for a fourth consecutive year, something the 25-year-old could scarcely believe come the final whistle.

The midfielder said: “I am so happy with the result. Four years in a row is unbelievable and we’re so happy.

“I think it does get more special each time. Just to be able to lift that trophy again is an unbelievable feeling and the whole squad are so ecstatic.

“The team played so well today – we rose above Holcombe, played our game and came away with the win.”

Having been tested by the University of Birmingham in the semi-finals, Surbiton were made to work even harder for the win in a game set under a late-April sky in east London.

Neither side could fashion an opening early on, with the first clear effort of the game being Ansley’s first penalty corner five minutes before the break, before the defender converted clinically from a second set play just moments later.

That was her 22nd goal in all competitions this season while, after some confusion, Middleton was eventually awarded the second goal after getting a slight touch on Webb’s flick following a cleverly disguised penalty corner.

Holcombe hit back shortly after through Rio star Eleanor Watton, but Naomi Evans’ instinctive nudge to deflect home a drilled pass from a couple of yards in front of the Holcombe goal secured the victory in the 52nd minute.

While she didn’t get on the scoresheet herself, Georgie Twigg was named ‘Player of the Final’ after an absolutely flawless display in which she used her exceptional skill and intelligence to scintillating effect, being at the heart of every good move her side put together.

For the 26-year-old choosing to pursue her law studies following on from Rio, and who is not currently part of the Great Britain set up, it was a fantastic feeling to pick up yet another piece of silverware, especially considering the men had done so just a couple of hours before.

She said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic. I’m just so pleased for the girls and the club – to win the men’s and women’s titles is just an amazing achievement and it’s been a great day all round.

“We’ve got a great team, a great club and a great set-up and I think it’s brilliant to see the young players coming through now as well and long may it continue.

“I never, ever win awards like that as well so it was a real honour but the team have been fantastic today so it’s all down to them.”

Surbiton’s attention now turns towards next weekend’s Investec Women’s Cup final against Clifton Robinsons before they head off to contest the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup in June.

In spite of all their success on home soil, they have yet to really show how good they are on the international stage, finishing sixth last year behind Canterbury and fifth in 2015.

This is something head coach Brett Garrard is keen to rectify this and believes success in both this event and next weekend’s final will prove to be the perfect preparation in their quest for European glory.

“The big challenge for us now is the European tournament,” the two-time Olympian said.

“Before that we’ve got the domestic cup final next weekend, which is a competition we take seriously.

“But we want to use that as a stepping stone now, and obviously today, to push us forward in Europe.”

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