University of Birmingham go joint top

Univ of Birmingham's Kath Somerville defends against Leicester's Maeve Macdonald. Credit Andrew Smith - 480x320
The University of Birmingham moved level with Surbiton at the top of the Investec Women’s Premier Division after they defeated Leicester 4-1 at home whilst the southwest London side lost to Buckingham.

Playing on Saturday, Birmingham opened the scoring through Harriet Mitchell’s 28th minute penalty stroke, just three minutes after the hosts’ goalkeeper Kath Somerville had denied a Leicester penalty stroke to keep the scores level.

The hosts took control after the break - Lydia Macdonnell, Rosie Henderson and Holly Munro all finding the net - before Liz George pulled one back for Leicester with 15 minutes to play.

The margin of victory proved crucial for Birmingham as they now share an identical record with defending champions Surbiton who lost 2-1 at home to Buckingham.

Sarah Page put Surbiton ahead five minutes into the second half of Sunday’s match but the visitors fought back to claim the points in dramatic fashion.

Kitty Higgins tied the game with six minutes to go before Lauren Thomas converted a penalty corner for her third of the season to snatch victory for Buckingham, who themselves now sit just a point behind the leading pair.

On Sunday, Holcombe and East Grinstead both picked up important victories which saw them cut their gap to the top of the table to just three points.

Holcombe won 3-0 at home against Slough, Sarah Jones scoring after just two minutes before Emma Trunks and Dirkie Chamberlain secured the points in the second half.

Much of the action came late on as East Grinstead edged out Clifton Robinsons 4-3, Zoe Burrell netting a hat-trick.

Burrell grabbed her first on 14 minutes but the sides went in level thanks to Lisa Daley’s equaliser for Clifton.

The game sparked to life with a quarter of an hour to play, Burrell’s second restoring East Grinstead’s lead only for Abigail Porter to tie the game five minutes later.

Pippa Chapman restored the visitors lead for a third time just 60 seconds later before Burrell completed her hat trick, and despite Joanna Leigh pulling one back with three minutes to play, East Grinstead held on.

Meanwhile, Canterbury claimed their first victory of the season after a 1-0 win over Bowdon.

Hannah Griggs scored the game’s only goal three minutes before the break as Canterbury closed the gap to their opponents at the at the foot of the table to just two points.

Investec Conference East
A hat-trick from Kate Reynolds helped Sevenoaks secure an emphatic 8-0 victory over Chelmsford in the Investec Women’s Conference East on Sunday.

Other goals came from Maddie Thompson, Jen Wilson, Alice O’Connell, Florencia Zappulla and Jess Denniff, giving them a victory which means they stay level with leaders Hampstead & Westminster, who won 3-1 at Wimbledon.

Lauren Turner, Annabeth Wijtenburg and Joyce Esser scored their goals, while Crista Cullen was Wimbledon’s only scorer.

Elsewhere Barnes and Cambridge drew 1-1 while Bedford and Harleston also drew by the same margin and on Saturday, Southgate and St Albans could not be separated in a 0-0 draw.

Investec Conference North
Beeston’s 100% record in the Investec Conference North was stretched to eight games after they comfortably defeated Sutton Coldfield 7-1 on Sunday.

Lauren Burrell starred for the leaders hitting a hat trick, with Esme Burge, Rosy Stephens, Nina Apoola and Sophie Robinson all on target.

Anna Baker and Claire Dobison both converted penalty corners as the University of Durham ran out 2-1 winners at Wakefield, whilst second half goals from Jo Ellis and Jenny Wilson helped Ben Rhydding to a 2-0 victory at Timperley.

On Saturday, Brooklands Poynton recorded a fourth successive win, this one a 3-0 triumph over Fylde to briefly go level on points with Beeston.

Meanwhile, Sophie Byrne opened her account for the season with a brace as Loughborough Students won 4-0 at Liverpool Sefton.

Investec Conference West
Reading are now top of the table and the only unbeaten team in the Investec Conference West after they secured a 4-1 victory over Oxford Hawks on Sunday.

Trojans’ 3-2 loss to Olton & West Warwicks on Saturday saw them lose the lead 24 hours later, as a hat-trick from Sophie Shakespeare and one from Emma Royce gave Reading the win over Oxford Hawks.

Elsewhere, Stourport remain third after a 3-1 win at Isca with Hannah Corcoran, Sarah Parkinson-Mills and Lora Symonds scoring their goals.

Gloucester City’s Danielle Gibson scored a hat-trick and Jessica Thomas added another as they won 4-0 at home against Team Bath Buccaneers, while Swansea City beat Cannock 1-0 thanks to Carys Gordon’s 42nd minute goal.

* The above photo shows University of Birmingham goalkeeper Kath Somerville defending against Leicester's Maeve Macdonald. Credit Andrew Smith.

* Full results, tables and fixtures from the Investec Women’s Hockey League are available here.