Sandra Frankland 24 (F)
UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM 4
Liz George 29 (PC)
Tina Evans 56, 70 (PC, PC)
Jenna Woolven 66 (PC)
[img_assist|nid=3861|title=First win|desc=Laura Bainbridge lifts the Investec women’s cup for University of Birmingham – Andy Smith|link=node|align=left|width=180|height=255]University of Birmingham lifted the Investec women’s hockey cup for the first time thanks to a 4-1 victory over Surbiton on Sunday.
The opening ten minutes were a scrappy affair with neither team able to get their grip on the game and both sides determined to give nothing away.
It was the University of Birmingham who had the first real opening when Captain Vicky Heptonstall ran in the circle before firing her shot went wide. Surbiton responded well and were unlucky not to take the lead when Sara-Jo Coakley struck a shot just past the post at the other end.
For more images see the gallery.
The students were awarded the first penalty corner of the match when a hit in the circle was raised into a Birmingham attacker off a defending stick. From the penalty corner the ball fell to Sarah Page who struck a low shot that was well saved by Surbiton goalkeeper Isabella Williamson. Surbiton’s first shot on target came on 19 minutes when Sandra Frankland’s low shot was kicked away by Maggs Rees.
University of Birmingham won their second corner on 22 minutes when a fierce shot from England U21 star Alice Sharp hit a defender’s shoulder. However, from the resulting corner, the injection was miss-hit by Sharp who was subsequently yellow carded for playing the ball immediately, before another player’s touch. The indiscretion proved to costly as just two minutes later Surbiton broke against the depleted student and took the lead. Good play by Sara-Jo Coakley saw her play the ball into the circle before it was squared to Sandra Frankland who struck the ball into the net.
University of Birmingham came back strongly after the setback with Jenna Woolven being denied with her high shot. However, just five minutes after going behind the midlanders were back level after good play by Sarah Page saw her win a penalty corner. A well worked routine saw the ball deflected into the net by Liz George for 1-1.
Like the opening period, the second half began slowly with very little goalmouth action. In the 47th minute, Surbiton’s Abi Robinson came close to putting her side in front. Her great ball across goal required the narrowest deflection but despite two diving players, they were unable to find a touch.
University of Birmingham once again won the first penalty corner of the half when a defensive clearance hit a shin and it was from the corner that they took the lead for the first time. Tina Evans dragged the ball through the onrushing defenders into the right of the goal to make it 2-1. Just moments later, the students could have increased their lead when the ball fell to Alice Sharp at the back post but she was unable to beat the diving Surbiton goalkeeper.
On 63 minutes, Surbiton had the opportunity to level the match when they won their first penalty corner of the half. From the corner, Chloe Strong hit a powerful shot but was unable to hit the target as the ball flew past the left hand post. It turned out to be their last clear cut opportunity of the match as University of Birmingham struck twice in the last four minutes to take the game away from Surbiton, whose consolation is that they will be playing in the Investec Women’s Premier Division next season.
First, good work on the right by Emily Atkinson saw her win a penalty corner when there was a tangle of sticks. It was Atkinson who then injected the corner to Tina Evans, who played the ball to Jenna Woolven to deflect the ball into the net in a well worked corner. Then moments before the final whistle, University of Birmingham won another corner after the ball was deliberately played off the back line by the Surbiton goalkeeper. The final whistle went and with the last touch of the game Tina Evans scored her second goal to seal a 4-1 victory and an inaugural Investec Women’s Cup title. The sides will meet again in next season’s Investec Women’s Premier Division.