Canterbury to face Surbiton in Final

Surbiton vs Reading 450
In just their second season of top flight hockey Surrey side Surbiton put in a brilliant performance against defending champions Reading to earn themselves a 4-1 victory and a place in the championship final tomorrow.
In the match before Canterbury continued their dominance in the Premier Division as they saw off Clifton in the first semi-final of the day; goals from Eliza Brett and Anna Baker gave them a 2-0 victory and guaranteed the Kent side a top two finish.

Earlier in the day Conference East side Holcombe and Premier Division Sutton Coldfield took a step towards securing top flight status next season. Holcombe were in fine form as they saw off Play-Off regulars Buckingham, while Sutton Coldfield came from behind twice to take a 3-2 victory over Conference North representatives Brooklands Poynton.

Canterbury 2 (1)
Eliza Brett 8 (FG)
Anna Baker 43 (FG)

Clifton 0 (0)

The first semi-final of the day saw Clifton take on top-of-the-table Canterbury for a place in tomorrow’s final. The match started with equal possession from both teams as they settled in to the game. In the 8th minute however, a pass from Canterbury’s Gen Masters crossed the face of the goal and was tapped in by Eliza Brett giving them a 1-0 lead over Clifton. Despite notable performances from Clifton’s Zoe Leach and Izzy Palmer, no further goals were scored in the first half.

The second half started explosively, both teams eager to score the next goal but it was Canterbury again who were successful. Thirteen minutes in to the half, Canterbury's Anna Baker struck the ball in to the top right of the net, past Clifton’s Caitlin Jeffries in goal, bringing the score to 2-0. Despite several opportunities, including a penalty corner in the final minute of the match, Clifton were unable to get on the score-sheet and the final score stood at 2-0 to send Canterbury through to tomorrow's final.

Following the game, Canterbury's Captain Grace Balsdon commented on her team's performance. "We’re really happy, the girls did an excellent job on the pitch. We’d done our homework on Caitlin [Jefferies], the Clifton goalkeeper. We know she’s a very good shot stopper and so we had to move the ball around her in the circle and get tips and touches. Credit to the girls, they did exactly that and we managed to sneak in two goals, so we're very pleased."

Reading 1 (0)
Dirkie Chamberlain 59 (FG)
Surbiton 4 (0)
Jenna Woolven 38, 66 (PC, FG)
Rebecca Herbert 55 (FG)
Georgie Twigg 69 (PS)
Surbiton booked their place in the Investec Women's Hockey League Final with a fantastic 4-1 win over Reading. The [Reading] home crowd were left disappointed, after a goalless first-half turned Surbiton's way in the second 35 minutes and with four goals to their name the Surrey side booked their place in the final against Canterbury.
The first half saw few clear chances for either team as they each searched for a way to penetrate strong defences. Sarah Haycroft and Sarah Page looked threatening for Surbiton and their pressure created the best chance of the half; a mistake by the Reading defence gifted Page the ball in danger, and she drove into the circle, but was denied by a superb save by Sarah Ellis in goal.
Surbiton quickly took the lead early in the second half from a penalty corner, as Chloe Strong's shot was saved but the rebound was put away by Jenna Woolven to make it 1-0. Reading were steadily increasing the pressure though, with Alex Danson, Becky Halle and Susie Gilbert all creating good chances. But Surbiton's defence looked imperious, especially Giselle Ansley who was rock-solid.
Surbiton's second goal came from another error by the Reading defence. This time Beckie Herbert was given the ball inside her own half and drove the length of the pitch before tucking the ball neatly underneath the on-rushing Ellis with a reverse stick shot. At 2-0, Reading were not out of it, and got themselves back in it when Susie Gilbert's mazy run and pass found Dirkie Chamberlain on the backpost, who flicked the ball past Abi Walker. At 2-1, the game was poised.
Surbiton sealed their place in tomorrow's Final with a net-busting Jenna Woolven reverse-stick shot and a late Georgie Twigg penalty stroke.
Speaking after the match birthday girl and Surbiton Captain, Sarah Haycroft, had this to say: "It was amazing to get the win but it was a complete team effort. We defended with our lives for a lot of the match because obviously Reading are a really tough opposition but we just stuck together, worked well and were rewarded in the end so we're really happy. Now we just need to get home, rest, recover and do our pre game preparations all over again; hopefully we'll finish in that top of the league spot!"

Tomorrow the losing semi-finalists Clifton and Reading will battle it out for third place at 14:15 and then the Championship battle between Canterbury and Surbiton will start at 16:45. Tickets are still available to purchase at the gate.