Four games at the end of the 2013-14 season plus two complete unbeaten seasons of 18 games each meant that if Surbiton stayed unbeaten up to their tenth league game of the 2016-17 season, they would reach the magical milestone.
Hat-trick heroine, Giselle Ansley and Beckie Middleton ensured that Surbiton made history and although Holcombe replied with a goal from their top scorer, Ellie Watton, the hosts were never really in danger.
We’ve made history! – The Surbiton Ladies squad celebrate their 50th successive match without defeat. Photo: Tim Reder Photography.
Surbiton captain, Sarah Haycroft returned to the squad after missing the games at home to Leicester and at Clifton Robinsons.
Surbiton put pressure on the Holcombe defence from the start, forcing a third minute penalty corner which Aurora Mears saved from Ansley.
A minute later, Haycroft was only denied in the circle by visiting defender Erin Hunter, before Surbiton were awarded their second penalty corner.
Ansley’s clinical drag-flick found the backboard in the fifth minute to continue the Olympic Gold medallist’s scintillating run of goal scoring form.
In the seventh minute, Holcombe had the chance to level from their only penalty corner of the first half, but Surbiton goalkeeper, Sabbie Heesh came to the hosts’ rescue.
Ansley was in deadly form once more in the eleventh minute, another drag-flick finding its target to double Surbiton’s lead from their third penalty corner of the match after Emily Defroand’s excellent attacking play had forced the penalty corner award.
In spite of Surbiton’s efforts, the score remained 2-0 at half time, Naomi Evans, Georgie Twigg and Sarah Page all having chances to score.
Surbiton’s Naomi Evans is shadowed by Holcombe’s Florencia Zappulla. Photo: Tim Reder Photography.
Near the end of the first half, Surbiton defender, Robyn Collins calmly carried the ball away from her own goal-line and away to safety.
Surbiton continued to attack in the second half, with Emily Atkinson and Haycroft combining in the circle.
Middleton threatened, but was tackled by Holcombe’s captain, Steph Elliott. However, in the 43rd minute a stunning shot from the right-centre of the circle was enough to give Surbiton a three goal cushion.
Surbiton’s Alice Sharp eludes Holcombe’s Florencia Zappulla. Photo: Tim Reder Photography.
Five minutes later, Holcombe pulled a goal back, Watton’s shot rising into the top right corner of the net for her ninth league goal of the season.
Midway through the second half, Surbiton went close to extending their lead from open play, Haycroft sending the ball past the right post and Middleton on Surbiton’s next attack, blasting the ball over the bar.
With nine minutes remaining, Middleton forced a save from substitute goalkeeper, Grace Lawes and it was Lawes who faced a penalty stroke in the penultimate minute after Abi Robinson was fouled in the circle.
Up stepped Ansley to coolly complete her hat-trick, although Lawes did her best to get to the ball by diving to her right, but couldn’t stop the ball ending up in the netting just above the backboard.
Surbiton’s Giselle Ansley completes her hat-trick against Holcombe. Photo: Tim Reder Photography.
There was nearly a dêja-vu moment when as at Holcombe Park, Holcombe had a penalty corner award at the end of the game.
This time, goalkeeper Heesh ensured that Surbiton’s defence would not be breached a second time and the Sugden Road club made history on the final whistle.
Surbiton currently have a four point lead over East Grinstead, who once again swapped places with Holcombe after winning 4-2 at basement club, Reading.
Next Saturday that gap could be reduced to one point as East Grinstead travel to Slough for a rearranged match due to East Grinstead’s European indoor involvement.
If East Grinstead avoid defeat, the two remaining unbeaten teams will meet in West Sussex when the season resumes on 4 February.
Clifton Robinsons won 6-0 at Canterbury, former Surbiton player, Kate Holmes scoring twice.
Leicester won 3-0 at Slough to move up to fifth as the University of Birmingham’s match at Bowdon Hightown was postponed due to a frozen pitch.