A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club


By Lucas Ball

Lottie Bingham is hoping to hear the terrace roaring once again at Holcombe Park after Sunday’s vocal crowd helped Holcombe earn a point against league leaders Surbiton 2s in a comeback draw.

Holcs had found themselves 2-0 down at half-time having drawn 1-1 with Slough on Saturday, with goals from Bingham at the end of the third quarter and Phoebe Steele in the second-last-minute of action snatching a point as Nick Bandurak’s side became the first this season to come out of a Division One South match with Surbiton 2s with any reward.

Bandurak’s side earned their reward after a bold substitution to go with 11 outfield players for the last few minutes, withdrawing Tilly Woodhead late on to try to create overloads in attack.

That result gives Holcombe a two-point lead over Barnes in second place with five games left to play, including a contest with the London side in a few weeks’ time at Holcombe Park.

This weekend, though, Holcombe face a resurgent Harleston Magpies who have won three of their last four since the Christmas break, lifting themselves away from the relegation zone.

Bingham said: “It was really great to be at home, it’s always nice to play at Holcombe – I don’t think we’d played here for a while actually.

“At half-time, we didn’t feel that the scoreline reflected the game at all, we were getting in their D, getting shots away and forcing some saves from their goalkeeper.

“It wasn’t one-sided at all so it was quite disappointing going into that half-time talk but it fuelled us for the second half, when they barely got into our D so props to our defence as well as the attack, everyone.

“It’s always nice to score a short corner as well!

“Playing at home gives you such a good feeling, even if you are 2-0 down, the supporters are still there for you, they do drive you on.

“I don’t think there was a time on Sunday where it was quiet on the sideline, they were with us when we were losing and then when we got back level, it really shows what kind of club this is, they were there for us throughout and we’re really grateful for the support.

“I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we get the same kind of turnout and get a good three points in our back pocket to do well for the home crowd.

“I think, definitely on Saturday, it was a little bit of a disappointing result for us – we know how well we can play and I just don’t think we quite delivered on the pitch, that was the viewpoint going around the whole team – it didn’t go the way we wanted it to. 

“t’s good that we still got a point out of it but I also think that fuelled us for the match against Surbiton and that result almost made the whole weekend, getting that point out of them was a highlight.

“Maybe, in hindsight, the Slough result was good in that it fuelled us for Surbiton – if we’d have beaten Slough, would we have been quite as fuelled to play as well as we did?

“Even though we were 2-0 down, we did fight back and got a great result, it was great to get another point to the tally.

“When we have conversations in training about taking off the goalkeeper, it is very much focusing on the fact that we’re doing this because we need to get a goal.

“We need to use that extra player, I think we did that really well on Sunday, it was definitely the right choice to take Tills off.

“Our defence did amazingly – I think it was Tilly Tillings who came on, Tilly for Tilly, she just adds such a fiery spirit to the team, she’s relentless in her leading and it was a driving force for us late on in the game.

“I think it’s really important for us to take it game-by-game, you can’t overlook some of the teams slightly lower down the table.

“Every point matters, we thought Slough would’ve been relatively easier than Surbiton, for example, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday, they really brought it to us so it’s just about being up for every single match, bringing the intensity to them and not dropping our level to show them that we’re determined to hold onto our place in the table.

“When it does come to the Barnes game, hopefully we’ll be in an even better position with regards to fighting for promotion.

“If we do manage to get the double promotion, it would be fantastic to come in and get that.

“It would just be testament to all the hard work – indoor I know we didn’t do as much but to come back on that second weekend really shows what our team’s like in terms of putting in that hard work, putting our mind to it and getting the results.

“It would be great to finish this outdoor season with that positive as well.”

Saturday’s goal took Bingham, who has recently been selected in this year’s England under-21 squad alongside goalkeeper Woodhead, to 12 in all competitions so far this season.

She has been pleased with her tally but admits it is always just about helping the team.

“It’s always great to be on the scoresheet again alongside Phoebe, who’s really helped us this season, especially with her drag-flicks.

“It’s great to help the team and contribute towards the end result, the celebrations are definitely worth it.

“Tills is just an amazing goalkeeper, I have full confidence in her – I didn’t even watch the penalty stroke on Saturday, I knew she was going to save it.

“I watched it back on the replay, it just shows she deserves the plaudits, deserves to be in the under-21s squad.

“She’s a great goalkeeper and just a really nice person as well.

“It’s really good to return to the under-21s, especially with Tills – I’m really pleased for her.

“She’s such a great goalkeeper and has such a great athlete mindset, she really puts her mind to it and it’s obviously nice to get a lift up there sometimes!

“To have a clubmate in there who also has to balance the workload, it’s nice to have someone with a similar mindset and to be able to support each other.

“It’s really exciting for this season with a Euros coming up in the summer especially with her help now at the back.”

As well as being selected in the under-21 squad, Bingham also received the Youth award at the Hockey Writers’ Club Awards in London earlier this month, with coach Bandurak also scooping the Men’s Player of the Year Award for a third consecutive year.

Bingham commented: “It was a really good event, to be receiving that award is such an honour, I’m really thankful for anyone who’s supported me on this journey whether that be Nick or old coaches from my previous club, my teammates helping me make strides.

“I’m really excited to see what I can achieve next with that continued support hopefully and I think that award is just testament to all the support I’ve been given.

“I’m not surprised that Nick won it.

“He’s an amazing player to watch and really hard-working, taking on our coaching as well. I’m so grateful to have someone like him as a coach with that attacking mindset, it’s something I’m always working on.

“I do like to pick his brains a bit on some stuff which he probably finds a bit annoying but it’s just testament to everything he’s done, to win it three years in a row is a massive achievement and I think everyone agrees how impressive it is.”

Entry is free at Holcombe Park on Saturday afternoon as Holcombe take on the Magpies (2pm) ahead of Holcombe’s men facing Surbiton at 6pm in the Premier Division, looking to get back to winning ways after defeat against Old Georgians last time out.

Image: Andy Mair