A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match report – W1s 3-1 Slough (Vitality Division One South, 14th October, 2023)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe moved up to second in the Vitality Division One South table with a 3-1 win over Slough on Saturday afternoon courtesy of Deanna Ritchie’s hat-trick.

The hosts have won three of the first four matches, only losing to table-toppers Surbiton 2s, who still have a 100% record.

Slough travelled to Holcombe Park for the first meeting between the two sides since the 2018/19 season, when Holcombe topped the regular season Premier Division table to reach the League Finals while Slough were relegated after finishing ninth and then third in the Play-Offs.

Nick Bandurak’s side made the better start of the two sides, Ritchie opening the scoring with her first goal for the club after just a few minutes as she powerfully fired home after picking up a loose ball inside the circle. 

Lottie Bingham also forced Slough’s goalkeeper into action early on with a reverse effort while Holcombe saw a couple of penalty corner efforts well-defended by the visitors.

The hosts were largely in control in the first half, Slough not really testing Tilly Woodhead with most of their attacking opportunities coming on the counter-attack.

Bandurak’s side could have perhaps added to their lead when Leisa Randall broke through on goal before the break, rounding the ‘keeper before looking to play a square ball to Marian Ledesma, but the pass was hit on the stretch and bobbled across, with Slough defending well to ensure the deficit remained just one goal heading into the break.

The second half was more even, Holcombe still controlling the ball for spells but the visitors’ counter-attacks were looking more dangerous and they won more penalty corners.

Jules Inverdale levelled for the away side in the third quarter, her penalty corner effort the first Holcombe have conceded from the set piece all season.

Holcombe, though, looked the most likely to grab a winner in the final quarter and they deservedly re-took the lead through Ritchie’s second.

With just a few minutes left to play, New Zealand international Ritchie completed her hat-trick, finishing from close range to ensure Holcombe took the three points and made it two wins from two home matches in 2023/24.

Bandurak’s side are next in action against Harleston Magpies, who are currently winless in ninth place on Saturday (2:30pm).