Strong: Surbiton are only going to get better
Former Team GB international Chloe Strong’s loss was very much Surbiton’s gain in 2012.
The 29-year-old, who lists Cheam among her former clubs, was cut from the British squad in August 2011, ultimately leading to a summer move to Sugden Road from Women’s Hockey League Premier Division rivals Slough.
It meant Strong missed out on the London Olympics, but was able to lead Surbiton ladies to the Conference East title, promotion to the top flight for the first time via the play-offs and a Women’s Cup final appearance in the summer.
The season of success for Croydon-born Strong – who has 22 international caps for Great Britain and England under her belt – saw Surbiton claim the Surrey Sports Awards team of the year trophy last week.
And captain Strong, who is currently sidelined expecting her first child, is hoping that with her team well placed in the table for a title push, it will be no flash in the pan.
“The success of last year has already attracted Great Britain internationals like Georgie Twigg to the club, so we are only going to get stronger,” she said.
“There are so many youngplayers coming through the club ranks, who already have representative honours, so over the next three years they should be coming through into the first team.
“The girls have started really well this year, so it probably shows they don’t really need people like me already.
“It is our target to challenge at the top, I just hope they can keep it up.”
Strong joined Surbiton last year to team up with two-time GB Olympian Brett Garrard, who is the club’s director of hockey and coach to the ladies first team – as well as being his country’s most capped hockey player.
And the mum-to-be – who was appointed captain this season, but has only played one game before handing over the reigns to Sarah Haycroft, admitted she has fitted in seamlessly.
“Being cut from the GB squad in August was disappointing, but it was just my time really,” she added.
“I came across to Surbiton after 10 years at Slough. I knew Brett from being with the GB team, so it seemed right.
“Having grown up in Croydon and now living in Earlsfield, Surbiton has always been my nearest club really.
“We targeted promotion at the start of last season and luckily we got the results we needed.
“We had a lot of fun along the way and my first year couldn’t have gone better.
“I’m not playing now, but I get along to support the girls and Sarah has done great.”