Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 18 November 2017
BOWDON HIGHTOWN 0–0 SURBITON
Squad: Grace Lawes (GK); Georgie Twigg (Capt.), Jo Hunter, Emily Atkinson, Olivia Chilton, Beckie Middleton, Sarah Page, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins, Ella Burnley, Holly Payne.
Subs: Stephanie Addison (6″), Adrienne Houle (8″), Darcy Bourne (12″), Lucy Holder (15″)
Umpires: Rob Jenkins and Janice Tasho
Match Official: Kate Oultram
Surbiton Ladies dropped to second in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division behind the University of Birmingham on goals scored following a 0-0 draw at Bowdon Hightown on Saturday afternoon.
Surbiton could have held a one point lead over the Midlands club, but Birmingham came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Canterbury on a day when four of the five games ended in draws.
Only East Grinstead got a positive result, winning 3-1 at Buckingham to end the hosts’ seven game unbeaten run. The top five teams are now separated by just three points at the halfway point of the regular season.
Surbiton took a fifteen player squad to Altrincham and it was Bowdon Hightown who took the game to Surbiton and just shaded possession in an evenly contested first half. Jo Hunter’s run down the left wing in the first minute seemed to indicate that Bowdon might struggle defensively but the opposite happened as Surbiton struggled to create scoring chances.
Bowdon are still to score their first home goal in the 2017-18 season, but only a fine save from Surbiton goalkeeper, Grace Lawes in the sixth minute kept that record intact. Beckie Middleton found Olivia Chilton in the circle only for Bowdon to recover the situation and a long pass from Alice Sharp to Stephanie Addison ended up with Sarah Page unable to take advantage.
Eight minutes before half time, Sharp threatened again, this time passing to Adrienne Houle who lost her footing in the circle allowing Bowdon goalkeeper Kirsty Mackay to kick the ball to safety.
Bowdon again went close to ending their home goal drought in the 32nd minute, Rosie Bailey denied at the right post from the hosts’ only penalty corner of the half.
In the second half, Surbiton had most of the possession but were unable to make the vital breakthrough as goalscoring opportunities were once more at a premium. The visitors had one penalty corner in the game, Robyn Collins’ effort being saved by Mackay. Houle also forced a save near the end and Georgie Twigg, Surbiton’s captain in Sarah Haycroft’s absence was frustrated as a shot was deflected past the left post by a Bowdon defender.
The flow of the game wasn’t helped by fairly frequent stoppages for free hits to be awarded, but with defences on top, the longer the game went on, the more likely it was that a goalless draw would result.
Surbiton failed to score for the first time in 44 games, a goalless draw at home to Holcombe in March 2015. It was also Bowdon’s second goalless draw of the season, Slough having drawn at Bowdon on 30 September.
Elsewhere, Leicester drew 1-1 at home to Holcombe and Slough drew 2-2 with Clifton Robinsons.
Surbiton host the University of Birmingham next Saturday in a top of the table clash at Sugden Road (push back 4 pm). When the teams met on 14 October on the new blue pitch in Birmingham, Surbiton lost to Birmingham for the first time in a Premier Division match, Lily Owsley, Alice Wills and Erica Sanders scoring, with Beckie Middleton replying as Birmingham won 3-1.
Entry for the Ladies game and the Men’s match against Wimbledon will be £5.