The secret behind Surbiton's hockey success story

Secrets: Brett Garrard, right, in his hockey days for Surbiton

Secrets: Brett Garrard, right, in his hockey days for Surbiton

First published in Sport Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Both Surbiton’s men and ladies teams are hell bent on their respective top-flight titles and it comes as no surprise to director of hockey Brett Garrard.

Sarah Page starred as Surbiton Ladies hit the top of the Women’s Hockey League Premier Division with a double winning weekend.

Page was on the mark twice – as was Jenna Woolven – as head coach Garrard’s team won 4-0 at Olton & West Warwick on the resumption of the outdoor league programme on Saturday.

And Page was on target again with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Reading 24 hours later.

Garrard took over the women’s head coach role four years ago with the specific aim of getting them into the top flight and challenging for silverware.

The ladies secured promotion in 2012 and have recruited a host of past and present internationals – including Hollie Webb, Georgie Twigg, Chloe Strong and Giselle Ansley – during Garrard’s spell in charge.

Wandsworth Guardian:

On target: Sarah Page helped inspire a double winning weekend for Surbiton’s women

The former GB international – who has more than 250 international caps to his name, including two Olympic appearances – has urged his women’s squad to make the most of their opportunity to secure the title.

And Garrard hopes their success will inspire the next generation to come through the ranks at Sugden Road.

“The young boys at the club have always had something to aspire to with our elite men’s team competing at the top level,” said the Reeds School hockey coach.

“I took on the women’s coaching with the idea of getting them up to the same level as the men and they are pretty much there now.

“We have been working towards this for a long time.

“There has been a huge number of players that have made an impact in the time I’ve been in charge.

“But we took the decision to introduce a number of younger players into the playing squad and we have made progress.

“We are now giving the younger players role models to aspire to and we are in a good place.”

Surbiton host Leicester this Saturday and go to Beeston in the Women’s Cup on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Surbiton manager James Lloyd reckoned the manner of Sunday’s 4-4 draw at Men’s Hockey League Premier Division play-off rivals Wimbledon was more significant than the result itself.

Wandsworth Guardian:

Triple whammy: Matt Daly completed his hat-trick against Wimbledon with five minutes remaining

The visitors had trailed 4-2 with five minutes remaining before Matt Daly scored the third of his three penalty corner efforts and then Michael Watt struck 30 seconds from time to level matters with a reverse stick flick.

The result kept fourth-placed Surbiton two points ahead of fifth placed Wimbledon before Saturday’s visit of league leaders Beeston – the first of the club’s six remaining games this term.

“In the context of the second half of the season every game is important,” said Lloyd, who welcomes back Scotland international Alan Forsyth from a broken metatarsal this week.

“One game is no more important than the other. What was more encouraging was the mood and attitude the boys showed to get back to level the match with 30 seconds to go.”

Wandsworth Guardian:

Last gasp: Michael Watt  snatched a late equaliser for Surbiton in a 4-4 thriller

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