Hampstead & Westminster women can be ambitious in top flight claims Robertson

Sarah Robertson (right) celebrates a Hampstead & Westminster goal during their promotion play-off su

Sarah Robertson (right) celebrates a Hampstead & Westminster goal during their promotion play-off success (pic Mark Clews) - Credit: Archant

Scotland and Great Britain international Sarah Robertson says Hampstead & Westminster should be ambitious in the Investec League Premier Division this season.

Robertson, who turns 26 this week, helped the women's team gain promotion to the top flight during the club's memorable 125th anniversary campaign and netted twice in their opening-day win at Beeston this season.

And the midfielder admitted to a great sense of excitement as the club embarks on a new chapter in its history, saying: "I'm really excited about our first season in the Premier.

"I managed to squeeze in a few weeks off after a busy summer, winning the Europeans as part of team Scotland, which gave me a huge buzz that I carried back to Hampstead & Westminster.

"It's good to be ambitious in our first season and I think we're capable of a top-half finish, but also to not get carried away with out expectations.

"As a first season in the Premier we don't have any context playing many of the teams and a lot of this season will be about learning and growing throughout the season. If we have that as our main aim and take each game at a time I think we'll have a successful first season."

Following their run to the East Conference title and play-off success last term, Robertson says the squad have worked hard to ensure they are ready for their new challenges.

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And she has been encouraged by some of their play, adding: "There's a lot of excitement in the camp. The squad worked really hard away from the group and back in pre-season to keep fit over the summer and ensure we are physically ready for a step up in intensity in the Premier.

"We had some great pre-season games, including a club trip to Belgium and a game against last season's champions Surbiton, and have shown some of the hockey we're capable of playing, which is positive signs for the season."

Robertson, capped 136 times at international level, is joined in the ranks by GB teammates Lily Owsley, Grace Balsdon and Holly Hunt and former international Joie Leigh this term and says they have settled in well.

"Holly and Joie managed to be at most of pre-season so they have had a lot of time with the team and been good additions," she said.

"Lily and Grace haven't had as much time because of the European Championships but are well known in the group and have come in recharged with a good focus for the season ahead and been brought up to speed quickly.

"I'm looking forward to seeing us competing and hopefully thriving at a level we know we're capable of playing at and hopefully putting a stamp on the Premier consistently over the whole season with the strength and depth of the group."

And as well as enjoying being in a squad coached by Olympic gold medalist Kate Richardson-Walsh and former Ireland international Sarah Kelleher, the former Edinburgh University, KHC Leuven and Holcombe player likes being part of the wider Hampstead & Westminster family.

"I really enjoy the atmosphere created at the club," said Robertson.

"There is a great balance between performance, with great players and coaches, but also an off-pitch environment where the club socialises together and players feel part of a club with a strong identity."