Havering’s Defroand sets sights on double with Surbiton
PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 April 2017
Former Coopers pupil ready for cup final action
Havering’s Emily Defroand will look to complete an Investec League and Cup double with Surbiton at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre this weekend.
The former Coopers Coborn pupil and her team-mates beat University of Birmingham and Holcombe to claim league honours last weekend and return to the Olympic Park to take on cup holders Clifton on Sunday.
And Defroand, 22, is hoping to end the domestic campaign on a high, before heading on to the continent, saying: “This is the fourth year in a row that Surbiton have won the England Hockey Investec Premier League.
“It is an incredible feeling and I feel very proud to be a part of such a special team. It was a fantastic weekend for the club as the men also won their play-off final on penalty shuffles – for the first time in the club’s history – so it was most certainly a weekend to remember.”
Saturday’s semi-final pitted Defroand against her former university team-mates, with Olympic gold medalist Giselle Ansley putting them ahead and Beckie Middleton and Hannah Martin sealing a 3-1 win.
And Ansley and Middleton were on target again the following day, along with Naomi Evans, as Surbiton beat Holcombe by the same margin to be crowned champions once again.
“I think our team performance on Sunday was one of the most composed displays we’ve shown all season. I felt we controlled the game throughout and our team defence in particular was very tight and compact to keep Holcombe at bay,” added Defroand, who was also named in the women’s team of the season.
“I am very honoured to be nominated by my peers into the team of the season,” she said.
“However I think having four Surbiton players in the team of the season highlights how much of a group effort this season has been.
“I strongly believe every player has been integral to our title winning season and I’ve loved playing alongside such a dedicated and talented group of girls.
“Clifton have a wealth of experience, including my Great Britain team-mates Alex Danson and Joie Leigh, and missed out on a play-off spot on the final day of the league season.
“I’m sure it will be a close encounter. After Sunday, our attention will then turn to preparing for the European Club Championships in Den Bosch, Holland which is at the start of June.”
Defroand returned to Coopers on Monday for a special visit, where she was interviewed by Sky Sports TV for a special feature on their Sportswomen programme.
And she admitted it was another proud moment, which she hopes might inspire other young girls to follow their sporting dream.
“I felt so proud to go back to Coopers and be interviewed by Sky Sports,” she said.
“The piece is centred around Team Up’s initiative in raising awareness of the influence of school sport on young girls and particularly the role of PE teachers in encouraging female participation.
“I feel so strongly about how important PE can be for young girls, especially in the modern day where there are so many social media/body image pressures, and I hope that sharing my experiences, along with some of the current pupils, can portray the undeniable value of school sport.”
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