Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – 13 October 2018
SURBITON 1–0 UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
Scorers: Georgie Twigg 21-PC
Squad: Grace O’Hanlon (GK); Giselle Ansley, Sarah Evans (Capt.), Georgie Twigg, Hannah Martin, Emily Atkinson, Emily Defroand, Erica Sanders, Susie Catlin, Alice Sharp, Robyn Collins.
Subs: Jo Hunter (7 mins), Izzy Petter (9), Alice Klugman (11), Holly Payne (11), Ella Burnley (16).
Umpires: Emma Shelbourn and Cathy Wright
Match Official: James Boylan
Surbiton Ladies maintained their narrow lead over second placed Holcombe, in the Investec Women’s Hockey League, ending the University of Birmingham’s unbeaten record with a 1-0 win whilst Holcombe beat Canterbury 2-1 in their Kent derby on Saturday night.
Surbiton were unchanged from their 1-1 draw at East Grinstead and took on Birmingham at an unseasonably warm Sugden Road.
Emily Atkinson made her 100th national league appearance for Surbiton against her former club and was presented with flowers in a ceremony in the clubhouse after the match.
In the Elmbridge sunshine, Lily Owsley made a dangerous run for Birmingham early on and the visitors came close to taking the lead from a fourth minute penalty corner, Amy Costello unable to convert.
Surbiton immediately responded with two penalty corners of their own in as many minutes but the Birmingham defence held out.
The Birmingham defence were also put under pressure from open play from Erica Sanders and Susie Catlin with Katherine Somerville making fine saves.
Hannah Martin, another former Surbiton player was an attacking threat with Harriet Mitchell, a former Surbiton player working hard in defence.
Youngster Ella Burnley also ran at the Birmingham defence and with Georgie Twigg having to battle with Alicia Caillard, the game remained goalless.
The only goal of the match came in the 21st minute when Surbiton converted their third penalty corner, Twigg’s shot heading for the top left corner and judged to have crossed the line after being cleared.
Surbiton captain, Sarah Evans saw her pass intercepted by Birmingham’s Delyth Thomas as the hosts sought to double their lead and Sanders had a shot blocked and was unfortunate to fall to the ground in attempting to regain possession as Costello cleared late in the first half.
Birmingham were always in the game when trailing by just one goal and came close to equalising in the 42nd minute, a well worked penalty corner routine ending up narrowly past the right post.
Surbiton’s Alice Klugman, playing her first game on home turf after making her debut at East Grinstead was enthusiastic in the circle and Izzy Petter forced a save from Somerville.
Birmingham had their opportunities to salvage a point, Surbiton’s Robyn Collins clearing from the goal-line from Birmingham’s third penalty corner and Birmingham had a significant numerical advantage late in the game when Surbiton were reduced to nine players for two minutes and ten for three minutes as Giselle Ansley found herself in the sin-bin after seeing yellow, Susie Catlin keeping her company after being shown a green card.
Nevertheless, Birmingham couldn’t find the equaliser, Surbiton winning their third match in four games with goalkeeper, Grace O’Hanlon keeping her third clean sheet of the season.
Buckingham moved up to third with a 2-1 win over Bowdon Hightown. East Grinstead are now fourth following their 3-0 win at Slough and Beeston are fifth having beaten Clifton Robinsons 4-3 in Nottingham.
Birmingham dropped to sixth, with Clifton in seventh, Canterbury holding off Bowdon on goal difference in eighth and Slough bottom of the table, but only two points behind Clifton in a close bottom half of the table.
Surbiton will be at home to Bowdon Hightown next Saturday (20 October), push back 12 noon.