Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 14 October 2017
UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM 3–1 SURBITON
Scorer: Beckie Middleton 12-F
Squad: Grace Lawes (GK); Giselle Ansley, Sarah Haycroft (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Hannah Martin, Emily Atkinson, Beckie Middleton, Sarah Page, Alice Sharp, Izzy Petter, Robyn Collins.
Subs: Jo Hunter (5″), Darcy Bourne (8″), Stephanie Addison (17″) Not used: Emily Leeson, Amber Walton (GK).
Umpires: Caroline Frye and Rob Jenkins
Match Official: Roger Flood
Surbiton Ladies crashed to a 3-1 defeat at the University of Birmingham, dropping from first to third in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division table after a disappointing performance.
Surbiton’s first appearance on the University’s new blue pitch saw them face three former Surbiton players, Katelyn Aitchison, Harriet Mitchell and Holly Munro, with Stevi Fisher-Norton watching on as a spectator.
Surbiton included Emily Leeson and goalkeeper, Amber Walton in the squad but neither player entered the pitch.
Birmingham put the Surbiton defence under early pressure forcing three saves from Grace Lawes in the second minute, whilst Surbiton’s Sarah Page had a shot blocked four minutes later.
Birmingham forced the first penalty corner of the match in the seventh minute and a minute later, took the lead, Lily Owsley scoring her third league goal of the campaign at the right post.
Surbiton fought back in the 12th minute, youngster Darcy Bourne running at the Birmingham defence before deftly slipping a through ball to Beckie Middleton, who quickly diverted the ball past Birmingham goalkeeper, Kath Somerville to restore parity.
However, although Surbiton dominated possession, they failed to take advantage, largely thwarted by the Birmingham defence and their own inability to convert the possession into scoring chances.
Former Surbiton player, Munro also made some key defensive interceptions.
Surbiton’s penalty corner routine also failed with Birmingham’s Amelia Andrews blocking a Robyn Collins shot and Giselle Ansley stopped by Rebecca Condie.
Going into the second half level, Surbiton had an early chance to take the lead, Somerville dispossessing Surbiton captain, Sarah Haycroft.
In the 46th minute, Surbiton thought they had taken the lead for the first time, another Hannah Martin dribbling run finished off with a shot into the goal but the goal was ruled out and after a discussion with the umpires, the game was restarted with a bully.
Four minutes later, Birmingham retook the lead, Alice Wills finding the backboard to the delight of the students’ supporters. Although Surbiton mounted attack after attack, the Birmingham defence held them off with Erica Sanders sealing the victory in the 69th minute, again from open play.
There was nothing Surbiton could do as Birmingham beat Surbiton in the league for the first time since the Sugden Road club was promoted to the Premier Division, with the defeat also ending a run of 61 games since Surbiton last lost by at least a two goal margin in the league.
Next Saturday, Surbiton travel to Holcombe (push back 4 pm) and they will be visiting the new league leaders, who lead Slough, Surbiton and East Grinstead by a point.
Slough missed out on top spot after losing 1-0 at East Grinstead. Leicester and Buckingham fought out a goalless draw with Canterbury staying bottom of the table after a 2-1 home defeat to Clifton Robinsons.