Holcombe and Sutton on top in Play-Off battle

Sutton v brooklands 450 investec finals weekend
Sutton Coldfield 3 (1)
Gemma Brown 9 (FG)
Emma McCabe 49 (FG)
Jane Sixsmith 51 (FG)

Brooklands Poynton 2 (1)
Cat Savage 4 (FG)
Kellie Baxter 39 (FG)

Sutton Coldfield gave themselves a good chance of retaining their Premier Division status after defeating a spirited Brooklands Poynton side 3-2 in the first encounter of the Investec Women's Hockey Finals Weekend.

The game started brightly for Brooklands. In the opening five minutes Helen Turner fed Cat Savage the ball who tapped it past Sutton's goalkeeper Becky Batsford, giving them a 1-0 advantage. Play was quickly turned over, however, and a rare error from Brooklands allowed Gemma Brown to score the equalizer with an easy tap-in at the back post. This brought the score to 1-1 coming in to the half time break.

Eager to regain their lead, Brooklands were quick to score in the second half. Kellie Baxter found space in the circle and put her shot neatly in to the goal, bringing the score to 2-1. Desperate not to be defeated, Sutton started to up the pressure, winning a series of penalty corners. It was Emma McCabe who scored the inevitable equaliser, lifting the ball in to the goal with ease, making the score 2-2. Quick stick work from Rosie Bailey and Jane Sixsmith allowed Sutton Coldfield to score another, bringing the final score to 3-2, giving them the win.

Speaking after the match, winning goal-scorer Jane Sixsmith had this to say; "It was a really tough match, both teams had so much to lose today but we kept fighting and believing in ourselves. We got the winning goal with about ten minutes to go so it really was all hands on pump! Looking ahead to tomorrows match, we know it's probably going to be very tough. We're just going to rest as much as we can now and just prepare ourselves as best as possible."

Holcombe 6 (2)
Leigh Maasdrop 6 (FG)
Lauren Osborn 14 (FG)
Megan Frazer 58, 62 (PC, PC)
Laura Unsworth 60 (PC)
Nicci Daly 67 (FG)

Buckingham 0 (0)

The second match of the promotion and relegation battle saw Holcombe convincingly beat Buckingham 6 – 0.

Both teams were comfortable in possession in the opening period of play; however it was Holcombe who took the lead through their captain Leigh Maasdorp after six minutes. Holcombe doubled their goal tally eight minutes later after some clever build up play down the right hand side resulted in the ball being cut back for Lauren Osborne to sweep home. The last ten minutes of the first half saw a spell of sustained pressure from Buckingham and a series of penalty corners. England International Maddie Hinch was on hand to pull off some smart saves and keep the score at 2 – 0 going in half time.

Buckingham came out of the blocks quickly in the second half; however, they were unable to convert any of their chances and four quick fire goals in the space of nine minutes from Holcombe sealed the victory. Top goal scorer for Conference East, Megan Frazer, bagged herself a brace and England International Laura Unsworth also got her name on the score sheet with a fierce reverse stick strike. Nicci Daly rounded off a dominant performance for Holcombe as she got the final goal of the game and secured a 6 – 0 victory.  

Speaking after the game, Holcombe’s Laura Unsworth was understandably pleased with the result. “We knew we had to come here and win today and to come away with 6-0 is going to put us in a good place for tomorrow against [Brooklands] Poynton. We worked well as a team and when we do that we know we can play some really good hockey. Tomorrow is going to be a tough match but we’re looking forward to it. We’re not going to underestimate them but we’re going to be confident after our victory today.”

Brooklands Poynton against Holcombe is the first game of the day tomorrow at 10am followed by Buckingham against Sutton Coldfield at midday in the final match of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Play Offs. Tickets are still available to purchase at the gate. 

P W D L F A GD Pts
Holcombe 2 1 1 0 7 1 6 4
Sutton Coldfield 2 1 1 0 4 3 1 4
Buckingham 2 1 0 1 4 6 -2 3
Brooklands Poynton 2 0 0 1 2 7 -5 0