Bryant out to erase memory of unwanted cup final hat-trick
Centre forward Vicky Bryant has an unwanted cup final hat-trick, but that would be forgotten should Surbiton claim their triple crown on Sunday.
The 25-year-old has starred for the Thames-Ditton-based ladies this term as they go in search of a third outdoor crowns this season at the Women’s Cup final in Cannock.
Bryant was in the Surbiton team that lost 4-1 to Bowdon Hightown in last year’s showpiece, her third final defeat in succession follow-ing two with former club Reading.
Captain Vicky Heptonstall and her team face Premier Division side University of Birmingham – Heptonstall and Clarissa Goodwin’s former side – this weekend, having already won the Women’s Hockey League Conference East last month and added promotion to the top flight, by way of the play-offs.
And Bryant, who is in her second season at the club, is out to erase some unhappy memories by adding a third piece of silverware to the Sugden Road trophy cabinet in 2012.
“Last year we were the underdogs and they were a long standing Premier side and it is the same again this time,” she said.
“It could be a really open and exciting game.
“This will be my fourth cup final in a row. I lost two for Reading and then last year with Surbiton, so, hopefully, it will be fourth time lucky for me.
“After the disappointment of last year the plan was always going to be to get promotion and win the cup.
“Now we have the chance to do that we are determined to finish the job.”
Bryant has smashed 16 goals in 22 games this term, as Surbiton have all-but swept all before them, and is her team’s second leading scorer behind former Great Britain international Chloe Strong.
Younger sister Amy has six with one of those – in the 1-0 cup semi-final triumph over Clifton – being laid on by her elder sibling.
“We haven’t played much in the same side together before this season and I don’t think we’ve ever played a cup final together,” added Bryant senior.
“It was nice to set her up for a goal in the semi-final and it would be great if we could do that again in the final for a win.”
Sunday’s clash will be a dress rehearsal for life in the top-flight next season after promotion in April, a feat made more remarkable given the team was playing in the Surrey leagues seven years ago.
And Bryant knows the step-up in class will be a challenge – no matter the outcome this weekend.
“We have nothing to lose and it is a good opportunity to test ourselves against a team in the league we will play in next year,” she said.
“We know we will have to step our game up for the cup final and for next year, because it is going to be a lot tougher for us.
“We have got to get a bit fitter during the summer for next year but we are more than capable of competing.
“I don’t know what it will be like because the standard changes every year, but we can stay at that level.”