'Keepers inspire Loughborough and Durham to BUCS Big Wednesday wins

BUCS Big Wednesday 2018
Goalkeepers were the heroes of BUCS Big Wednesday as Ollie Payne inspired Durham University to victory in the Men’s Championship while Miriam Pritchard pulled off several impressive saves to secure the Women’s Championship for Loughborough.

Having suffered so much heartache in recent years – finishing runners-up in three of the last four seasons – Loughborough W1s finally clinched the cup with a 3-2 victory against hosts Nottingham.

In front of raucous home support, Nottingham had the better chances of the first half – forcing Pritchard into two great saves from corners – but it was their local rivals who led at the break courtesy of Lucy Millington’s penalty stroke.

That lead tripled in a matter of moments in the early stages of the second half as firstly Lizzie Neal and then Annabel Sams unfurled brilliant strikes to put Loughborough in the driving seat.

Nottingham hit back and with ten minutes as Eloise Stenner finally managed to beat Pritchard but it was not to be for her side, despite Charlotte Calnan smashing in a second goal with the final touch of the game.

The men’s final was an even tighter affair as Durham took the title after beating Nottingham Trent 3-1 on strokes after the game finished level at 1-1 in regulation time.

Three-time semi-finalists Durham began the game on top and found themselves ahead in the 19th minute as Torben Nowak gave former GB Olympian Ali McGregor no chance with a rocket strike.

Nowak then thought he had a second early in the second half, only for it to be ruled out, before Trent equalised with just two and a half minutes to go as Elliot Hibell fired a penalty corner into the roof of the net.

Step forward GB EDP squad member Payne - who had already produced several great saves in the game,  including a flying one-handed effort to keep out Trent captain Chris Procter – to clinch the win for his side, pulling off three great saves to ensure the trophy headed back to the north east.

That was the second hockey victory of the day for Durham as their Women’s 2nd XI overcame Birmingham W2s 2-1 to take home the Women’s Trophy, while the men’s equivalent also went to strokes with Edinburgh M1s emerging on top having equalised late in the game against Cardiff.