The opening weekend of the season sees Surbiton play hosts to rivals Reading in a Super Saturday double-header on 13th September. The Ladies kick off the defence of their Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division title off at 2 pm, closely followed by the Men’s 1st XI, who then begin their NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division campaign at 4.30 pm.
If you were unable to see the Ladies 1st team win the IWHL Premier Division title at Reading HC or the Investec Women’s Cup at Highfields last season, you will get the opportunity to get a close-up view of our coveted silverware as the squad will be parading both trophies and their medals at the half time interval of the Men’s game.
Following their successful tournament campaign just a few weeks ago, our three Commonwealth Games silver medallists, Giselle Ansley, Georgie Twigg and Hollie Webb will also be at the Club to proudly display the medals they won in that dramatic Final in Glasgow just a few weeks ago.
Both first team squads then face away trips the following weekend with the Ladies travelling up to play the University of Birmingham on Saturday 20th September
and the Men presenting an early test to recently promoted Southgate in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, the following day.
The second Super Saturday of the new season then takes place on 27th September back at Sugden Road with our two flagship teams taking on visitors Beeston (the Ladies at 12 noon and the Men at 2.30 pm).
Both squads are pleased to announce the arrival of a few new faces and one more familiar one at Sugden Road this season. England and GB star David Beckett (formerly of Cannock) has joined the Men’s ranks along with Welsh midfielder Lewis Prosser from La Gantoise of the Belgian Premier League and Scottish International defender William Marshall from Sheffield Hallam, whilst Nick Cooper rejoins the Club having recently graduated from Exeter University. Another Welsh international, Rupert Shipperley also joins from Cardiff & Met.
Men’s Head Coach, Todd Williams, is looking forward to the season and is in a confident mood as the opening fixture draws ever closer: “We approach the season with great anticipation. Although we’ve had some departures, most notably James Tindall who goes with our thanks and best wishes, we are delighted with players such as David Beckett, Lewis Prosser and Rupert Shipperley who have joined us and immediately improved and deepened our squad. After the relative success of the previous two seasons, we see the coming year as our opportunity and challenge to establish ourselves at the very top of the Premier League. After our first year though, we know how important it is to start well and with our first game being Reading at home, all our focus is on being ready for that opening whistle.”
The Ladies welcome Jo Hunter who joins us from Leicester HC having helped her old club lift the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy at Loughborough University last season, and there will also be another new signing to announce very soon!
Ladies 1st Team Manager, Mark Atherton, is equally upbeat going into the new season. “Last year’s achievements were a testament to the strength in depth of the group and just reward for a huge collective effort from the girls. It is important that we build on the foundations of last season and there can be no room for complacency. We know that Reading, amongst others, will be looking to prove a point but we have had an excellent pre-season, will be ready for the 13th September and are looking forward to mounting a defence of our titles and the new challenges that lie ahead.”
Also making its debut for the Club will be our new 1st XI playing kit. Our two premier teams will don the new design playing shirts, which will feature the logos of Club sponsor BT Sport and our kit partner Canterbury, for the first time against Reading.
And there is more good news for the Barmy Army, as the Club will also be unveiling our new stand that day. Spectators last season will remember the (albeit brief) appearance of a tiered seating area for a couple of fixtures at Sugden Road. However, the most recent addition to the Club’s infrastructure will be a permanent fixture throughout the season and we hope to fill it on both Super Saturdays!