Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Surbiton 1 University of Birmingham 1
The University of Birmingham became the first team to take a point off Surbiton this season with a 1-1 draw at Sugden Road at Saturday lunchtime.
The draw ended Surbiton’s run of eleven successive wins in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division and allowed Hampstead & Westminster to close to within six points of the reigning champions after Hampstead beat Loughborough Students 3-0.
The match was delayed by 25 minutes as one of the circles took time to defrost due to a lack of sun penetration.
Once the game got underway, both goals came in the first five minutes, Susie Catlin scoring from the edge of the circle in the second minute after Surbiton threatened early.
However, Birmingham, only prevented from being bottom of the table due to Bowdon Hightown’s points deduction, fought back in the fifth minute, Lauren Hunt catching the Surbiton defence napping to equalise.
Surbiton lacked the cohesion and team work which had led them to ten wins this season, as they made too many unforced errors when in a good attacking position.
They also found Birmingham goalkeeper Nicole Marks in good form as Maddie Long, Hannah Martin, Erica Sanders and Eloise Stenner all had shots saved. Visiting captain, Amelia Andrew also worked hard in defence with Laura Graham making an important clearance from the circle in the second half.
All three Surbiton goals at Bowdon Hightown the week before had come from penalty corners, but against Birmingham, Surbiton struggled to get a shot on target.
Birmingham went close to snatching what would have been an important win, but Surbiton will be disappointed with their performance and know that they will have to improve if they are going to win the league title for a seventh successive season.
Birmingham went on to lose 3-1 to East Grinstead on Sunday but with Bowdon Hightown’s home game with Beeston postponed due to a frozen pitch, Birmingham have a two point advantage over Bowdon but have now played a game more.
East Grinstead are now the division’s form team and are now unbeaten in ten games, having won 2-1 at Clifton Robinsons on Saturday to cement their third place, although they have played two games more than their nearest rivals.
Holcombe’s home game with Buckingham was abandoned at half time with the score 1-1, due to the pitch freezing in rapidly dropping temperatures.
Scorer: Susie Catlin 2-F
Squad: Sabbie Heesh (GK); Giselle Ansley, Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Hannah Martin, Holly Payne, Emily Atkinson, Erica Sanders, Susie Catlin, Alice Sharp, Holly Munro, Robyn Collins.
Subs: Darcy Bourne (6 mins), Eloise Stenner (6), Maddie Long (7), Emily Guckian (7), Ella Burnley (8).
Cards: Green: Susie Catlin (42 mins), Georgie Twigg (69).
University of Birmingham:
Scorer: Lauren Hunt 5-F
Squad: Nicole Marks (GK); Pip Lock, Lauren Hunt, Caroline Spence, Rafaela Brandao-Lee, Delyth Thomas, Rosie Henderson, Millie Attwell, Elena Emo, Amelia Andrew (Capt.), Siena Horton.
Subs: Rebecca Manton (7 mins), Hannah Birchall (7), Lily Walker (7), Laura Graham (10), Cerys Preston (10).
Match Official: Derek Rutherford
Umpires: Rob Jenkins and Rebecca Woodcock