Goals from Emily Atkinson, Hollie Webb and Jenna Woolven fired Surbiton to a 3-0 win over Canterbury and their first Investec Women’s Championship Trophy. Brett Garrard’s side, in only their second season in the Premier League and their second appearance at the playoffs held off a spirited display from the Kent side to cap a perfect weekend for the Sugden Road outfit.
They took the lead in the second minute. Chloe Strong’s penalty corner was well saved but the ball was recycled and fired back in, where Atkinson showed good predatory instincts to stab home from close range to give her side the lead. Strong had another penalty corner chance but her shot was too high and so the goal was ruled out. With time running out in the first quarter Hollie Webb broke forwards and forced a fine save from Helen Fagg in the Canterbury goal.
Canterbury almost drew level at the start of the second quarter. Cara Brogan-Jones made a nice run down the right and crossed into the D. Her pass was helped on by Kim Young to Eliza Brett who got in front of the defender but flashed her shot wide. Moments later at the other end, Charlotte Calnan showed good presence of mind to take a quick free hit, entering the D where she was unlucky to shoot wide of the far post. Sandra Frankland and Woolven also went close for the Sugden Road side but both were unable to beat Fagg.
The third quarter was a cagey affair with both defences on top. Susie Rowe produced a series of excellent tackles as she fought tooth and nail to keep Surbiton at bay, whilst Giselle Ansley picked up where she had left off against Reading with another dominant display for Surbiton. Right at the end of the third quarter Surbiton forced a penalty corner. As it was the last play before the break everyone was forwards, a move that paid off. Webb, who had previously been back in defence was on hand to fire in the rebound after Mel Clewlow had cleared the initial shot off the line.
With 13 minutes remaining Surbiton scored the decisive third goal. Atkinson drove into the D on the right and fired a cross over that was deflected in by Woolven for the third goal. Georgie Twigg almost made it 4-0 but Fagg again made a splendid save diving to her left.
There were no more chances as the clock ran down and Surbiton were able to celebrate a famous win.
Sarah Page, who scooped the player of the match award told The Top of the D: “We’ve come so far from where we started last season when we came up to the Premier League. It’s a fantastic team effort and a real testament to how hard everyone’s worked. We learnt a lot from last year and Brett got the tactics spot on so we were really well prepared and it all came together at the right time.”
Surbiton and Canterbury both qualify for Europe next season as a result of the Sugden Road side winning the trophy and Canterbury’s first place finish in the league.
I was most impressed with Giselle Ansley in Saturday’s game, and it sounds like she put in a similar performance in the final. There will come a day when we’ll need a replacement for Kate – and I can see Gis being the next captain. Alright, it may be a pointless bit of speculation on my part, but I’d say that “Captain’s Innings” was an accurate description of how she played.
She certainly did impress and has really shown a lot of improvement since she broke into the central programme. Only time will tell as to how she gets on from here, but it’s nice to know that when Kate eventually decides to call it a day (aged 50, perhaps?!) we are well stocked with some good up and coming replacements.