Investec Women's Knockout Finals: Round Up

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Investec Women's Knockout Finals weekend got underway today with no fewer than five trophies up for grabs. Here are the reports from four of them with the Women's Cup Final Report here.

Women’s 2nd XI Plate Final: Bromley and Beckenham 0-1 Oxford.

Oxford picked up the first silverware of the day in a tight encounter with Bromley and Beckenham. Amy Mobley’s goal on the stroke of half time was enough to settle the match but it was the narrowest of wins.

Oxford settled the quicker of the two sides in the first half breaking forwards with pace and numbers as they searched for the opening goal. Their first chance came from a hard hit ball into the circle that was deflected just wide by Cathy Thorn. It took the Kent side a while to get going but Sarah Bluett’s direct run and pass set up Jo Read who was well denied by the onrushing Phil Swindell in the Oxford goal. As Bromley’s territorial advantage grew, Oxford’s pace on the break became a threat and a magnificent run from Annabelle Denly almost gave them the opener. With moments to go before the break, the first goal arrived. Oxford’s penalty corner was not cleared properly and Mobley pounced to lift the ball in and send the Oxford fans wild.

The second half settled into a pattern with Bromley pushing numbers forwards in search of the equaliser and Oxford aiming to hit them on the counter using the pace of their strikers. Oxford’s No107 lived up to her name by being a constant Thorn in the side of the Kent outfit’s defence with some superb driving runs and it was her who almost doubled the lead, only to be denied by a sprawling save from the goalkeeper. Bromley’s best chance came from a Jo Read deflection but Swindell showed her reactions and pulled off a brilliant save. Thorn had a chance to settle it late on but her shot flashed wide and Oxford had to see off a late barrage from Bromley to take the title.

A delighted Oxford Captain Ruth Bedford told England Hockey: “It’s a fantastic end to a hard season. We’re really thrilled to get some silverware. It’s so inspiring to play on the pitch that a lot of our heroes play on and we really enjoyed it. Our youngsters really stepped up and everyone proved their worth.”

Women’s Vase Final Oxted 3-1 Amersham and Chalfont.

Oxted picked up the Investec Women‘s Vase with an excellent attacking display to see of the challenge of a spirited Amersham and Chalfont.

Oxted made a dream start to the game, taking the lead from their first attack. Amelia Lewis picked up the ball in the circle and swivelled to fire the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 1-0. Amersham struggled to cope with the pace and movement of the Oxted attack and Catherine Ledesma set up Lewis whose backhand shot fizzed wide of the far post. Liz Williamson made a string of splendid saves to keep her side in the game but on 24 minutes there was nothing she could do as her save from Mariana Ledesma’s shot fell for Smith who made no mistake to make it 2-0. Emma Hewitt had Amersham’s best chance of the opening half as her diving deflection from Alice Keddy’s cross flashed just wide, ensuring it stayed 2-0 at the break.

The Buckinghamshire outfit forced a series of penalty corners and in the 43rd minute they got their reward as Alice Keddy slotted home from a well-worked routine. Despite a spell of pressure from Amersham, Oxted re-established their two-goal cushion in the 53rd minute as Mariana Ledesma kept her cool to flick in a penalty corner rebound. Amersham withdrew their goalkeeper with 5 minutes to go in an attempt to salvage the game but it ultimately proved in vain as Oxted saw the game out for a well earned win.

Sam Dobson, the victorious captain told England Hockey: “It feels fantastic to win. We settled well and got ourselves in front which was really important going into the second half. The support was amazing and we’re really happy.”

Investec Women’s Trophy Final: Newent 0-1 Newcastle.

A defensive masterclass from Newcastle ensured they picked up the Investec Women’s Trophy after a narrow 1-0 win over Newent.

A fairly even first half was separated by Helen Hodgson’s penalty corner strike in the 7th minute. The No35’s initial shot was saved by the goalkeeper but the rebound fell back to her and she made no mistake with the second attempt to put Newcastle in front. Newent played some neat and tidy attacking play as they pressed for an equaliser but the Newcastle back line of Vicky Johnstone, Emma Dovey, Hodgson and Lisa Edwards-Clay defended superbly to keep them at bay, preserving the lead at the break.

Newent thought they’d equalised shortly after the interval but their penalty corner strike was too high and was ruled out. Emma Williams’ pace proved to be a threat in the second period and it was from one of her runs that Newent came closest to an equaliser, as her run and pass just evaded Libby Timney in front of the goalkeeper. Despite plenty of territory and possession Newent were kept at arm’s length by Newcastle who picked up the win and the trophy.

Captain Laura Armstrong told England Hockey: “It feels amazing. We believed in ourselves and we’ve done it. Our target was to win in normal time and we’re really pleased to get it done. We’ve got the best defensive record in the league this season and we showed why that is today with a great performance.”

Women's 2nd XI Cup Final: Beeston 2-2 Surbiton (3-0 APS)

The final game of the day pitted Beeston against Surbiton for the Women’s 2nd XI Cup. Both sides had recently been runners up in this competition with Surbiton losing out in the finals in 2010-11 and Beeston in 2012-13, so both sides were desperate to get their hands on the trophy this time out.

Surbiton almost struck first with Sian Craze going close with a shot over the top in the early exchanges. At the other end, Alice Huddlestone who was a threat throughout signalled her intent, turning the defender inside out before firing into the side netting.

Surbiton took the lead on 17 minutes as Vanessa Roberts’s fierce penalty corner found the net to break the deadlock. Emma Russell almost increased the lead but her shot flashed wide of the post. Beeston turned the game on its head in the second half with two strikes in quick succession from Hannah Farr, one a penalty corner and the other set up by a superb run and pass from Huddlestone.

Surbiton rallied and clawed back an equaliser through another penalty corner, this time from Russell and although Huddlestone continued to terrorize the Sugden Road team’s defence there was to be no winner in normal time and so to a penalty shootout.

Sylvia Rose shot wide for Beeston but Emmie Le Marchand and Saffron Martineau both saw their efforts saved by Brooke Butler. With Katy Hart and Annie Dalton scoring for Beeston it meant that when Emma Batten’s effort missed Heather Morris scored to win the cup for Beeston.

Sophie Glover, Beeston Captain told England Hockey: “It feels amazing. We’ve had a challenging season so I’m really proud of the girls. We had a bad start but we rode it out and stuck at it. We calmed and came together second half and showed what we can do. Our young players really stepped up, like Alice Huddlestone and Brooke Butler but it was a great team effort overall.”

Tomorrow the finals of the Women's Masters Competitions take place, followed by Great Britain's women taking on Japan in the Investec Private Banking International. Details, including ticketing are here.