Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Surbiton 0 Clifton Robinsons 1
Clifton Robinsons kept up their hopes of pipping Buckingham to the fourth and final playoff place by winning 1-0 at Sugden Road on Saturday to turn the form book upside down.
Clifton had not won for six games and Surbiton were on a twenty game unbeaten run, but Surbiton were left to rue missed chances and their failure to convert from any of their fourteen penalty corners, whilst Clifton took the one chance that mattered, Kathryn Lane’s penalty corner conversion in the 41st minute.
Even then Surbiton had the chance to snatch a late point, but Aline De Visser saved from Erica Sanders’ last minute penalty stroke on a day when Surbiton hid the woodwork on three occasions.
Clifton mounted a first minute attack, but it was Surbiton who looked more likely to score as Clifton’s defenders struggled to keep possession, being dispossessed by Surbiton’s forwards, who failed to take advantage.
Susie Catlin was thwarted in the circle and Georgie Twigg ran towards goal before shooting past the left post as it seemed only a matter of time before Surbiton would break the deadlock.
Surbiton struggled with their penalty corner routine, having shots blocked, but when they did get a shot on target, Clifton’s Maria Jones was on hand to clear the ball off the line with her stick twice to add to Surbiton’s frustration.
Youngster Maddie Long also looked threatening whilst De Visser kicked one effort away in a goalless first half.
Clifton went close early in the second half, but Lane scored her third goal of the season six minutes after the interval to give the visitors a shock lead. Even then, it seemed that patience would be rewarded somehow, but Clifton held on for the win.
Surbiton were without Hannah Martin, but even without her persistence, the regular season champions did more than enough to create enough chances to score.
The final whistle also commemorated a historic moment as Clifton celebrated their first ever league win over Surbiton in sixteen attempts.
With Buckingham losing 1-0 at home for the second week running, this time to Hampstead & Westminster, Clifton could snatch fourth place if they beat Bowdon Hightown and Buckingham slip up at the University of Birmingham if Clifton can overcome a minus five goal difference. Holcombe could also be in the hunt if they win at Loughborough Students and overcome a minus seven goal difference.
Surbiton will be keen to avoid a second successive defeat when they visit East Grinstead, on course to earn a home semi-final berth by finishing second. On the last weekend of the season, all matches push back at 2 pm.
Squad: Sabbie Heesh (GK); Georgie Twigg, Holly Payne, Emily Atkinson, Ella Burnley, Erica Sanders, Susie Catlin, Alice Sharp, Holly Munro, Robyn Collins, Eloise Stenner.
Subs: Sarah Evans (Capt.) (7 mins), Jenna Woolven (8), Maddie Long (8), Emily Guckian (9).
Sub not used: Beckie Middleton.
Scorer: Kathryn Lane 41-PC
Squad: Aline De Visser (GK); Kathryn Lane, Olivia Hopkisson, Maria Jones, Holly Savage,
Phoebe Richards, Catherine Macaulay, Natasha Marke-Jones, Claire Thomas (Capt.), Kitty Chapple, Katie Jones.
Subs: Zoe Leach (7 mins), Izzy Webb (10), Amy Burton (10), Ashley Mainwaring (13), Alexandra Ogilby (28).
Cards: Green: Phoebe Richards (32 mins).
Match Official: James Boylan
Umpires: Rob Jenkins and Cathy Wright.