Surbiton start could lead to England call for Haycroft
Thwarted: Surbiton's Vicky Bryant is stopped in her tracks by the Bowdon Hightown goalkeeper on Saturday
Stand-in Surbiton Ladies skipper Sarah Haycroft is hoping her side’s fast start to the Women’s Hockey League Premier Division can fire her to a senior international call-up.
The 21-year-old returned to Sugden Road in the summer having spent three years with top flight rivals the University of Birmingham – where she was studying a history degree – and has helped her new team to
an unbeaten start to the campaign.
Former Kingston Grammar School student Haycroft, who has led the team in the absence of regular captain and former Team GB star Chloe Strong, captained England’s U21s to a bronze medal at the EuroHockey Junior Nations Championships in August.
The Wellington College teaching assistant has kept up that fine form as Surbiton have won four and drawn one of their opening five league and cup encounters thus far.
And with senior England trials in October and November on the horizon, Haycroft – who scored twice in Sunday’s 13-0 Investec Women’s Cup romp past Maidstone – can only hope it continues.
“I did England U16s and England U18s when I was at Surbiton before I went to university, so I was always likely to come back,” said Haycroft, pictured right.
“The U21s programme was a good one, but unfortunately we just didn’t quite reach our full potential at the Euros.
“I’ve moved up to the seniors now and the first step is the October and November assessments where they decide who will be in the squad.
“Fortunately, I’m able to train nearly full time alongside my work, which is great.
“The fact we are playing so well at such a high level of hockey, is only going to help those with international ambitions.”
Surbiton are playing their first season in the country’s top flight and continued their unbeaten league start on Saturday when Amy Bryant’s first half penalty corner strike proved enough for a 1-1 league draw with Bowdon Hightown.
Hat-tricks from Abi Robinson and Vicky Bryant, double strikes from
Sarah Page, Clarissa Goodwin and Haycroft, and a
lone Vanessa Roberts effort secured Sunday’s cup triumph.
And Haycroft, who is from Esher, was in no doubt of the reason behind the team’s free-scoring fast start.
“We’ve come together well as a team and things have gelled really quickly,” she said.
“We’ve added real strength in depth and experience to the team with the likes of Georgie Twigg coming in.
“We are confident we can win every game and we are not scared of any one particular team.”
Surbiton, who host Leicester in the league at Sugden Road on Saturday, go to Sutton Coldfield in the Investec Women’s Cup second round on October 21.