Williams remembers Surbiton's Beeston beating fondly
It is not often a hockey coach will have fond memories of a 7-2 defeat, but that scoreline sticks in Surbiton men’s coach Todd Williams’ mind for good reason.
Williams takes his team to defending MHL Premier League champions Beeston on Saturday, nearly 12 months after losing to the Nottingham outfit by that score.
That defeat triggered a watershed in Surbiton’s campaign last season as it helped inspire a 14-match unbeaten run that saw them reach the end of season play-offs – where they lost 5-1 to the same opposition – and qualify for Europe, having been bottom of the table.
Williams, who took charge at Sugden Road last summer, admitted it was a key moment in the season, but would rather not see a repeat performance this weekend.
“The start of last season had been a harsh and steep learning curve for me,” he said.
“I remember that day very well. I learned a lot about the players that day. A couple of players did not play much after that.
“I got a pretty good idea of how much work needed to be done and where the weaknesses were.
“If I remember correctly the week after that was the start of our 14-match unbeaten run, so it proved to be a good day for me as a coach, but not in terms of the result.”
Twelve months on Surbiton are second in the table having enjoyed an unbeaten start to the campaign.
They have done it the hard way though, being forced to come from behind in each match.
Saturday’s 2-2 draw with last season’s Conference East champions Wimbledon was another example of a slow start.
Chris Gregg and former Surbiton star Ben Hawes had put the Dons in charge at the break, before captain Ben Tibble and Matt Daly struck in the second half for the hosts to ensure honours ended even on the day.
Meanwhile, hot shot Jenna Woolven became only the second player in Surbiton’s history to score a WHL Premier League hat-trick as her side thrashed Olton & West Warwicks 12-1 on Saturday.
Sandra Frankland (two), Sarah Page, Giselle Ansley, Georgie Twigg, Emily Atkinson, Chloe Strong and two own goals added to Woolven’s heroics, as the win moved the Sugden Road outfit up to second in the table.
The ladies travel to Leicester, who beat them twice in the league last term.