Birmingham Outplay Loughborough in Championship Hockey

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University of Birmingham Women’s Hockey team won BUCS PwC Championship Gold with consummate ease as they breezed past Loughborough University in a one-sided 3-0 victory at Abbeydale, Sheffield.

In what was a slow and defence-minded affair, Birmingham outplayed their Midlands rivals as they dominated possession and had the greater number of chances.

It took a while for the game to get going within the opening exchanges as the game was less than free flowing.

The first chances were all for the West Midlands team who were unable to profit from Loughborough’s ill-discipline, failing to score at six penalty corners.

Credit must be given to the Loughborough keeper, Jennifer Mashford who produced some fine saves to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

With five minutes to go of the first period Loughborough conceded another penalty corner which was brilliantly saved on the line with the goal-keeper beaten by defender, Josie Inverdale.

Yet, this was to no avail as Loughborough finally paid the price for their ill-discipline in the final minute of the half with a scrappy finish by Emily Atkinson from a well-worked penalty corner.

The decision to award the penalty corner upset the Loughborough contingency who would have been unhappy with their first half showing.

In the second half, Loughborough were reduced to 10 players for a period of the match as Kate Maxey was yellow carded. The resultant penalty corner was well saved again by Mashford who fed the ball out to set up a quick counter attack.

Loughborough’s Sarah Jones was sent clear in a three vs two before squaring the ball to create a glorious opportunity but when her team-mate hurled herself at the ball she was unable to connect to convert the ball in.

This was a rare highlight for Loughborough who throughout were overpowered by their rivals and seven minutes later Birmingham doubled their advantage with a skilful goal from a quick free-kick.

The game ended with further jubilation for Birmingham as they scored a third goal in the dying minutes to add further salt into the Loughborough wounds.

The goal again came about after a scrappy period, and perhaps summed up the entire match perfectly, with the forward smashing the ball between the legs of the Goalkeeper and into the net.

The victory meant Birmingham took the Gold medal in the BUCS Championships with Loughborough having to settle for silver.

Elsewhere in the Hockey, Loughborough beat Durham 2-1 to win the Men’s Championship, Manchester beat Exeter 3’s 4-2 in the Men’s Trophy final and Cardiff fought off Manchester in the Women’s Trophy final.

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