Ruthless Holcombe set up final meeting with Surbiton.

Three goals in the space of two minutes in the third quarter helped Holcombe to a comfortable win over Buckingham in the semi-final of the Investec Women’s Premier Division playoffs.



Leading 1-0 thanks to Candice Manuel’s 12th minute strike, Holcombe took the game out of Buckingham’s reach with goals from Dirkie Chamberlain, Sofia Viarengo and Phillipa Lewis all in the space of a devastating two minute spell.

“Those three goals settled the game completely and made it a lot less tense for me personally, anyway.” said a delighted Steph Elliott, Holcombe captain in the wake of her side’s superb victory.

“It just shows how well the girls are playing together. They’re working so well because we’ve played together so much more. We have a lot of girls who were here last year playing this year, and it shows that consistency pays off.”

The game was very much a case of chances taken vs chances squandered. Despite the scoreline, Buckingham had chances to score. Zoe Shipperley had a penalty corner cleared off the line at 1-0 and Phoebe Richards was denied by some excellent goalkeeping from Rose Thomas just moments before Dirkie Chamberlain made it 2-0 with a wonderful strike into the roof of the net. Seconds later Viarengo pounced on a penalty corner rebound to make it 3-0 and with Buckingham still reeling, Phillipa Lewis produced a smart low finish to a superb move to make it 4-0.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for the girls.” said Elliott after the match. “I think we had six different scorers and that just shows what we’ve done the whole season. We’ve had 15 different scorers all season so bringing that into the game today is great. It’s really easy to be consistent throughout the season but when it comes down to the one game you could lose, it depends who’s got it on the day, really.”

Leah Wilkinson’s marauding run from the halfway line culminated in the fifth goal and then Heather McEwan got in on the act with goal number six for Holcombe as they advanced to the final in style.

“Finishing first [during the league season] gave us more confidence this year. It’s brilliant that this is the first year we’ve finished top and I think that really gave us a boost going into the game.” said Elliott.

The Holcombe captain also praised Head Coach, Leigh Maasdorp, saying:
“It’s nice to know that if we stick to what Leigh tells us to do and stick to the gameplan the goals will come. Looking ahead to the final, on our day we can do it so whatever comes at us, comes at us. We’ll see.”

Holcombe will face Surbiton in a repeat of last year’s final as they bid to take the title from the Sugden Road outfit.




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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