L1 Visit The University of Birmingham on Sunday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies travel to the University of Birmingham (push back 2.30 pm) for their last Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division match on Sunday before next week's break due to the Olympic Qualifiers.
Surbiton go to the West Midlands with a two point lead over second placed Hampstead & Westminster in the knowledge that their last two league games away to the University of Birmingham have ended in defeat.
In 2017-18, Surbiton lost 3-1, Lily Owsley, Alice Wills and Erica Sanders scoring for Birmingham, with Beckie Middleton Surbiton's scorer.
Last season, Jo Turnbull's second half penalty corner conversion proved to be the difference between the teams.
The first match at Sugden Road was an exact reverse, Georgie Twigg giving Surbiton a 1-0 win with a penalty corner conversion.
Birmingham are fifth after drawing 2-2 at home to Bowdon Hightown on the opening day of the season before suffering successive defeats: 3-0 at Hampstead & Westminster and 3-1 at Buckingham.
Birmingham then won their next two home games, 2-0 against Beeston and 3-1 against Holcombe before going down 2-1 at East Grinstead last week.
Rafaela Brandao-Lee and Lauren Hunt are joint leading goalscorers with two goals. Millie Giglio, sadly ruled out through injury for the time being; Coca Hall; Catherine Ledesma, who returned from injury and scored Birmingham's goal at East Grinstead; Caroline Spence and Delyth Thomas have scored once each to give Birmingham several scoring options.
Meanwhile, Surbiton won 4-2 at Holcombe last week to stay ahead of their London rivals, Hampstead winning 1-0 at Loughborough Students.
Hampstead visit Clifton Robinsons; Buckingham host Holcombe; Beeston entertain Loughborough Students and East Grinstead make the long trip to Bowdon Hightown.
Surbiton Ladies' match at the University of Birmingham is the second half of a double header with Surbiton Ladies' second team meeting their counterparts at 12.30 pm in the IWHL Conference West.
Surbiton have won their first four league games in the national league and hold a four point lead over second placed Exe after a 7-0 away win at Cheltenham.
Birmingham's second XI are ninth and looking for their first win of the season after drawing 2-2 at the University of Bristol and 0-0 last week at Clifton Robinsons against their second team.
Birmingham lost 2-1 at home to Oxford University and 3-0 at home to Oxford Hawks, so Surbiton should be confident of maintaining their fine start to the season.