Comeback win boosts University of Birmingham play-off hopes

Joey Turnbull celebrates the equaliser for University of Birmingham. Credit Andy Smith - 450

The University of Birmingham gave their hopes of qualifying for Finals Weekend a huge boost after securing a 2-1 comeback win over rivals Clifton Robinsons in the Investec Premier Division on Saturday.

The visitors opened the scoring through Hannah Coulson in the 30th minute, but the University of Birmingham hit back through Jo Turnbull (pictured), with 13 minutes to go, before Lydia Macdonell scored her first of the season to secure all three points.

The University of Birmingham are now fourth with a four-point gap over Clifton and Leicester.

East Grinstead are third, also four points clear of the chasing sides, after a 2-2 home draw against Leicester.

The hosts led twice through Lucy Bairner and Josephine Blunt but goals from Maddie Newlyn, her sixth of the season, and Liz George saw the points shared.

Holcombe became the second team to secure their place at Finals Weekend, despite being held to a 2-2 draw at Slough.

Hannah Bowe put the hosts ahead before goals either side of the break from Sarah Jones and Steph Elliott put Holcombe ahead.

Louise Bevan scored the equaliser midway through the second half to earn Slough a vital point in their battle to avoid the relegation play-offs.

Surbiton - who secured their place at Finals Weekend last Saturday - laid down a marker with a comfortable 6-0 home win over Bowdon Hightown.

Giselle Ansley became joint top scorer in the league on 13 goals with a brace against Bowdon Hightown – while Naomi Evans, Georgina Twigg, Hannah Martin and Jo Hunter were also on target.

Canterbury made it two wins in a row after a 2-1 home victory over bottom side Reading.

Goals from Grace Balsdon and Sarah Kerly gave the hosts the points, despite Emma Thomas levelling the scores with nine minutes to go.


Investec Women’s Conference East

Wimbledon and Sevenoaks remain separated by just three points going into the final two league games after both sides recorded 3-1 away wins in the Investec Women’s Conference East.

Nicola Lloyd, Libby Sherriff and Laura Bevan were on target as leaders Wimbledon won at Harleston Magpies.

Sevenoaks won by the same margin at Southgate with Samantha Danckert, Kate Reynolds and Maddie Thompson on the scoresheet.

West Herts picked up a crucial three points in a 4-1 win at Northampton Saints, pulling six points clear of their opponents at the foot of the table.

Two goals in the final three minutes saw Hampstead and Westminster come from behind for a 3-2 victory at Cambridge City, Jessica Orrett scoring the winner.

Elsewhere, Chelmsford and St Albans finished all square.


Investec Women’s Conference North

Brooklands Poynton kept another clean sheet in the Investec Women’s Conference North, running out 2-0 winners at home to Ben Rhydding.

The Manchester side have only conceded six league goals all season, as second half goals from Till Dyos-Szolkowska and Ellen Lockhart ensured they remain four points clear at the top of the table.

Beeston stay second after a 4-2 win at Liverpool Sefton, 16-year-old Nina Apoola scoring her first league goal for the visitors.

Lorna Jane Cruickshank scored the only goal of the game as the University of Durham won 1-0 at Sutton Coldfield.

Three goals in six minutes saw Loughborough Students to a 3-0 win against bottom side Belper, whilst Wakefield beat Timperley 4-0.


Investec Women’s Conference West

Buckingham maintained their three-point lead at the top of the Investec Women’s Conference West after a 2-1 home win over Gloucester City.

Emma Done put the visitors ahead after ten minutes, but Zoe Shipperley converted a penalty corner in each half to give Buckingham the points.

Stourport kept up the chase after a 5-0 win at Isca, Lora Symonds scoring a hat trick to take her tally for the season to an impressive 20 goals.

Exe leapfrogged Bristol Firebrands after winning 1-0 in the battle of the bottom two, Kate Hutchings scoring the only goal eight minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Sophie Clayton scored twice as Swansea City won 3-2 at Oxford Hawks and Kathryn Petch scored a brace as Trojans won 4-2 against Olton and West Warwicks.

* The above photograph shows the University of Birmingham celebrating Jo Turnbull’s equaliser against Clifton. Credit: Andy Smith.


Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 11, 2017):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Canterbury 2, Reading 1; East Grinstead 2, Leicester 2; Slough 2, Holcombe 2; Surbiton 6, Bowdon 0; University of Birmingham 2, Clifton Robinsons 1.

Investec Women's Conference East: Cambridge City 2, Hampstead and Westminster 3; Chelmsford 1, St. Albans 1; Harleston Magpies 1, Wimbledon 3; Northampton Saints 1, West Herts 4; Southgate 1, Sevenoaks 3.

Investec Women's Conference North: Brooklands Poynton 2, Ben Rhydding 0; Liverpool Sefton 2, Beeston 4; Loughborough Students 3, Belper 0; Sutton Coldfield 0, University of Durham 1; Wakefield 4, Timperley 0.

Investec Women's Conference West: Bristol Firebrands 0, Exe 1; Buckingham 2, Gloucester City 1; Isca 0, Stourport 5; Oxford Hawks 2, Swansea City 3; Trojans 4, Olton & West Warwicks 2.