Investec Women’s Promotion Playoffs: Holcombe 8-2 Brooklands Poynton.

Holcombe secured a deserved place in next season’s Premier League with a brutal display of finishing blitzing Brooklands Poynton by 8-2 in their final game of this playoff competition. Holcombe went into the game needing only a draw to go up but there was never any doubt of them pushing for anything other than a win as Megan Frazer helped herself to a hat-trick adding to goals from Shelley Russell (2), Nikki Daly, Lucy Wood and Steph Elliott. 

Holcombe could have taken the lead early on. Frazer burst forwards and found Daly who drew the goalkeeper before slipping it back to Frazer who somehow shot wide. Undeterred, Holcombe continued to press and on eleven minutes Frazer cut inside and teed up Daly who fired home. Maddie Hinch was forced into a low save to her right but Holcombe soon took control again. Russell gave them a cushion six minutes before the break with a superb reverse stick strike into the far corner after good work from Leigh Masdorp to set up the chance.

It took the Kent side just three minutes after the break to make it 3-0 as Lucy Wood converted a penalty stroke. Holcombe forced a series of penalty corners in a row but Brooklands defended them well to ensure the score was not added to. Having seemingly had their corners worked out, Holcombe changed it up and Frazer played a 1-2 with Elliott to find the bottom corner to make it 4-0. The roles were reversed in the 54th minute as Elliott found the bottom corner from a Frazer pass to make it 5-0. Poynton replaced the goalkeeper, allowing Rachel Humpherson her first taste of action this weekend, but Frazer did not allow her time to settle into the game, sending an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net to give the No2 no chance just seconds after she came on.

Frazer was wreaking havoc as she threatened every time she broke forwards. She jinked her way through the defence before slipping the ball past the goalkeeper to allow Russell to make it 7-0. Brooklands grabbed themselves a consolation with a penalty corner six minutes from time from Cat Savage but Holcombe immediately scored again with Frazer completing her hat-trick. Savage notched another consolation with a minute left but Holcombe were not to be denied.

Holcombe’s Steph Elliott told The Top of the D: “We didn’t know what to expect from them given the playoff situation, so we were focused on going out and doing our jobs and getting the result we needed. We set out at the start of the season to get promotion to the Premier League so to do it at the first attempt is fantastic. We’ve been under a lot of pressure so the girls deserve a lot of credit for getting us there.”

Holcombe will take their goalscoring exploits into the top flight next season whilst Brooklands will have to go back to the drawing board and fight for promotion again next year.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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