By Lucas Ball
Lottie Bingham is enjoying her hockey since moving to Holcombe in the summer and is pleased with how she has settled into the club.
Bingham, recently selected as a travelling reserve for the Junior World Cup, moved from Knole Park to join Nick Bandurak’s side and has so far scored three goals this season.
The 17-year-old has been deployed in both midfield and the forward line, also picking up a number of assists and was once again impressive in the team’s 7-1 win over Canterbury last weekend, which was part of another double-header.
Holcombe’s men were also victorious on Saturday evening, beating Cardiff & Met 6-0.
Tomorrow, Holcombe travel to Dukes Meadow to face third-placed Barnes, who are only behind Holcs on goal difference.
Bingham said: “It’s been a great season so far. I came in a bit late to pre-season but everyone was really working hard and it’s shown at this point of the season how much hard work went in with the amount of goals that, for example, Deanna’s scoring.
“We’re always striving to get those goals and get those points – there’s been a few matches that have given us some perspective like the Surbiton and Bath games but that fuels us for the matches coming up.
“I’m really happy. It wasn’t quite the case at the start, we had a practice match against Surbiton in pre-season that I remember and coming into a new club, you’re not going to get on the ball and go at it as much.
“Since, it’s definitely helped with people behind me – especially the likes of Squirt [Emma Bandurak], Hattie and Haz telling me to ‘keep going’ – it’s just the positive reinforcement really.
“In the past, I’ve gone attacking and lost the ball but with that positive reinforcement I’m not afraid to go again and with that practice, the confidence is growing.
“The confidence in the attackers from me to go forward and for them to be there to score and finish chances off and the confidence in the defence to be there if I do mess up allows me to get on.”
“In the first half, I often play midfield and then as more of a forward in the second so it’s really good to get a mix of how to play both and how others are playing – obviously everyone plays differently but it’s very good to see Phoebe who’s very calm and composed, for example, and can get out of difficult situations and then Jade who’s so threatening on the ball, always likes to go forward and is very effective and then Deanna who finishes off the goals and is always goal-hungry.
“It’s great to see and pick up little details of what they all do and implement them into my own gameplay.”
“In the forward line, it’s so important to have those relationships – especially with three up front.
“You’re all going to want to score goals but, at the end of the day, it’s about teamwork. It’s good to know who’s going to be at the top of the circle whacking it, who’s going to be at the back post, where everyone likes to lead.
“It’s good to learn everyone’s games and it’s proved quite effective so far.”
“It was a great result for us. I know after the Bath match at training, the focus was on not dropping to a level, let’s set the intensity, let’s bring the game to them and I think that’s exactly what we did by getting a few goals early on, keeping the intensity high throughout the match and not letting them fight back in any way.
“We went into the match knowing that it was against a known rival and especially with a former Canterbury player on the team, I think it was important for us to show the club that we really want to win those games for them.
“They’ve [double-headers] been great fun, it really brings the atmosphere up and brings people to the club and obviously with our coaches also playing with the first-team, it’s great to see how they play and integrate their coaching beforehand.
“The team really come together after and it shows how together the club is, uniting to support everyone.
“My old coach was a player but I haven’t had three and especially three players who play different positions with a defender, midfielder and attacker.
“It’s great to see them thrive in their positions and their coaching styles come through. We can pick up on lots of things from their games.
“Barnes is probably the biggest match of the season so far so luckily I’m able to play that [before going away to Chile for the Junior World Cup].
“In this match, I just hope we can keep the intensity and bring the game to them like we did against Canterbury.
“We don’t need to let the points and reputation be in our heads too much, we don’t need to worry about the points on the table, we just need to go out there and play like we do in training, play as a team and everyone needs to do their role then hopefully the result will come down on our side.
“The girls have been amazing and I expect they’ll carry on doing their best because they can – and they’ll score some amazing goals like they always do!
“Last year, I trained with the team for about two months but unfortunately didn’t join.
“Coming in, I knew some of the girls but the socials like pub golf night and duos have been really great to get to know the girls.
“Everyone’s lovely – there’s not much time to get to know people one-on-one in training sessions so it’s nice to hear about people’s lives away from the pitch.
“There was a kid version of the pub golf with like Fanta, Coke and lemon juice for us youngsters but it’ll be great to be able to join in a bit more [Bingham turns 18 next month].
“I’ve known Tills [Tilly Woodhead] for a while, we were both in the England under-18s squad last year and grew really close.
“It’s nice to have someone close going in, she was the one who kind of pushed me towards coming to Holcombe.
“With Hannah [Carney] too, having a couple of others your own age, it’s nice to have people who are going through the same things in life.”
The aim for the team remains to win promotion and an instant return to the Vitality Premier Division, while they are also in the last-eight of the Tier 1 Cup. Indoor hockey will also be played in January, with Holcombe – who will be coached by former men’s first-team captain Richard Lane – facing another campaign in Division One after finishing in mid-table last season.
“That would be a really great experience to come back to play in a semi-final at some stage, unfortunately I can’t play the quarter-final but hopefully the team can bring the win home.
“The outdoor goal is clear, we want to get back up.
“With indoor, it’ll be interesting to see – I loved indoor at my old club.
“It really allowed me to hone my skills so it’ll be interesting to see how the team comes together with that, it can be a very different game to outdoor.
“I did play against Holcombe last year and they looked very strong. Obviously Squirt is known for being the ‘Indoor Queen’, it’ll be really great to play with her and hopefully help the team get some wins.”
Updates of Saturday’s match will be provided across Holcombe’s social media channels.
Image: Becci Woodhead