Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 25 November 2017

SURBITON 21 UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

Scorer: Robyn Collins 33-PC, 40-F
Squad: Grace Lawes (GK); Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Jo Hunter, Emily Atkinson, Olivia Chilton, Beckie Middleton, Sarah Page, Holly Payne, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins, Natalie Maclean.

Subs: Jenna Woolven (9″), Izzy Petter (10″), Stephanie Addison (26″), Adrienne Houle (26″). Sub not used; Ella Burnley

Umpires: Helen Sargeant and Emma Shelbourn

Match Official: Derek Rutherford

Surbiton returned to the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division after winning the last match before the winter break, 2-1 over the University of Birmingham, leaders on goals scored before the start of play.

Birmingham dropped to fourth, also being overtaken by Buckingham, who trail Surbiton by two points after a 4-1 home win over Slough and third placed Holcombe, 3-0 winners over Clifton Robinsons.

Surbiton were without five international players and Birmingham three, due to the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final tournament in Auckland. Birmingham included former Surbiton players Harriet Mitchell and Sophie Fisher-Norton in their squad.

Jo Hunter came close to giving Surbiton a second minute lead with a shot which whistled past the left post following a run at the Birmingham defence.

Four minutes later, Birmingham mounted a breakaway attack after the injection from Surbiton’s first penalty corner was not trapped and sped out of the circle. Fortunately, Natalie Maclean was on hand to defend deep in her own half.

In the eleventh minute Beckie Middleton tested Birmingham goalkeeper Kath Somerville with an angled shot from the left of the circle.

Birmingham needed Mitchell to stop another Middleton attack in the clircle and Delyth Thomas to defend as Holly Payne looked dangerous towards the end of the first half.

The breakthrough came two minutes before half time, Robyn Collins finding the backboard to give Surbiton a 1-0 lead at the interval from Surbiton’s fourth penalty corner of the game.

Collins struck again five minutes into the second half immediately following Surbiton’s sixth penalty corner. Sarah Page forced a save from the set-piece and after the ball left the circle for a second time to end the corner routine, Collins shot from the edge of the circle, finding the backboard for the second time to extend Surbiton’s lead to 2-0 from open play.

Three minutes later, Birmingham pulled a goal back from the second of two successive penalty corners, Catherine Ledesma finishing off the routine to the students’ delight.

Surbiton goalkeeper Grace Lawes made a sliding save midway through the second half to deny Birmingham’s forwards.

Surbiton continued to attack with Olivia Chilton and Izzy Petter causing problems for the Birmingham defence. Birmingham needed two defenders to stop an Emily Atkinson attack, captain Flora Peel and Amelia Andrew combining. Andrew also defended well against Hunter late in the game.

The final whistle blew to end Birmingham’s seven game unbeaten run which started on 8 Oct after defeats in their first two league games.

Bowdon Hightown rose to seventh after a 2-1 win at East Grinstead. Leicester and Canterbury stayed in the bottom two places after battling to a 1-1 draw in Kent.

Surbiton host East Grinstead in the second round of the England Hockey Championships Women’s Tier One tournament on Sunday 3 December, push back 2 pm.