Surbiton Slip to 2nd after being held by a resolute Bowdon Hightown

Investec Women’s Hockey League

Premier Division
Bowdon Hightown 0 Surbiton 0

Surbiton Ladies dropped to second place in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division behind the University of Birmingham on goals scored after being held to a frustrating goalless draw at Bowdon Hightown.

On a day when four of the five league games ended all square, Surbiton could even have opened up a one point gap as Birmingham had to come from two goals down before drawing 2-2 at Canterbury. East Grinstead were the only team to win, ending Buckingham’s seven game unbeaten run with a 3-1 win at Stowe School, to move above Buckingham into third, a point behind the top two teams.

In Altrincham, Jo Hunter’s first minute run down the left wing suggested that the Bowdon defence could be unlocked easily. Instead, Surbiton had to battle in an evenly contested first half which saw Bowdon just shade possession.

Bowdon had failed to score in their first three home league games, but came close to taking the lead in the sixth minute, Surbiton goalkeeper, Grace Lawes having to make a fine save. The Bowdon defence was tested by a long pass from Alice Sharp which found its way to Stephanie Addison in the circle, but Sarah Page couldn’t quite finish off the defence splitting move.

Three minutes before half time, Rosie Bailey almost converted Bowdon’s only penalty corner of the half only for her shot to be defended.

Both teams made several unforced errors, with the flow of play also broken up by the award of frequent free hits.

Surbiton had more possession in the second half, but were thwarted by the Bowdon defence, Sam Quek, Alex Shaw, Jane Donnelly and Lucy Mcnaught all helping Bowdon earn only their second clean sheet of the season, having drawn 0-0 at home to Slough on 30 September.

In the last ten minutes Georgie Twigg, Surbiton’s captain in the absence of Sarah Haycroft, was frustrated as her shot was deflected past the left post and Adrienne Houle forced a save from Bowdon’s Kirsty Mackay, but Bowdon picked up a vital point following their 1-0 defeat at Canterbury the week before.

The goalless draw also ended Surbiton’s run of scoring in 44 successive games, which began with a 0-0 draw with Holcombe in March 2015.

Leicester’s 1-1 draw with Holcombe and Slough’s 2-2 draw with Clifton Robinsons left the Premier Division table at the halfway point of the regular season with just three points separating the top five teams.

On the final league weekend of 2017 before the winter break, Surbiton welcome the University of Birmingham to Sugden Road on 25 November for a top of the table clash (push back 4 pm).

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