LILY Owsley’s second half goal was enough for University of Birmingham to beat Leicester one-nil as they made a great start to the Investec Women’s Premier Division on Saturday.
She struck on 46 minutes to give her side the lead. Leicester had the chance to equalise but Hannah Fair missed a penalty stroke in the 59th minute.
Elsewhere, last season’s runners-up Canterbury are the early leaders of the Premier Division after beating hosts Beeston 5-1.
Sarah Kerly opened the scoring for Canterbury in the ninth minute. Grace Balsdon doubled the lead on 15 minutes and Lizzie Neal added another five minutes later.
Reigning champions Surbiton beat Reading in the semi-finals of the play-offs last season but couldn’t repeat that feat, playing out a goalless draw.
Phoebe Richards pulled a goal back for Beeston but a strike from Eliza Brett and a second for Kerly put the game to bed.
After winning the Investec Women’s Conference East by a massive 14-point margin last season, Holcombe picked up where they left off when they beat Bowdon Hightown 3-0.
Nicola White scored their maiden top flight goal on eight minutes and Leigh Maasdorp added another from a penalty corner on 24 minutes. A Nicci Daly effort after the break rounded off the scoring.
Clifton came through a tight encounter against Buckingham to nick a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a Claire Thomas goal.
Investec Women’s Conference East
East Grinstead began their new campaign with a 3-0 victory over Sevenoaks in the Investec Women’s Conference East.
Heather Batten broke the deadlock after 33 minutes before Alicia Caillard and Lucy Brown scored two goals in as many second-half minutes to make complete the scoring.
League newcomers Maidenhead got off to a winning start as Edwina Westacott pounced from a penalty corner to secure a 1-0 result against Harleston Magpies.
The other new team to the league, Bedford, couldn’t get off the mark as they lost out to Horsham. Kate Costin was on target for Bedford but goals from Suzy Clapp and Charlotte White handed Horsham the win.
Two goals from Rose Winter saw Wimbledon beat Ipswich 2-0 and in the other game, Chelmsford and St Albans took a share of the spoils with Bryony Pipe and Natasha Humphris on target in a 1-1 draw.
Investec Women’s Conference North
Sutton Coldfield started their season with all guns blazing as Emma McCabe and Jane Sixsmith both scored hat-tricks in a stunning 7-1 win over Kendal.
Last season’s champions Brooklands Poynton put their play-off loss behind them quickly to beat Ben Rhydding 3-1. A brace from Charlotte Jackson and a third goal from Amy Gavin was enough to see off their opposition.
Loughborough Students and Wakefield were both convincing winners in their games.
Ellie Tait, Jo Blunt and Claudia Moehrke were all on target for Loughborough in a 3-0 win over Liverpool Sefton and Wakefield beat Cannock 3-1 courtesy of strikes from Cat Horn, Rebecca Hutson and Hannah Norman.
In the other game in the North, University of Durham and Whitley Bay and Tynemouth played out a 1-1 draw.
Investec Women’s Conference West
Bristol Firebrands came flying out of the blocks to emerge as early leaders of the Investec Women’s Conference West with a 4-0 win over Olton and West Warwickshire.
Lizzie Gittens gave them the lead inside three minutes and Holly Savage made it two just five minutes later. Kathryn Bache’s goal put them three up just before the break and veteran Linda Webb’s smart finish on the hour completed the win.
Oxford Hawks and Gloucester City played out an entertaining 3-3 draw. Caro Harris scored a hat-trick for Oxford, hitting two in the last five minutes to earn a point.
Swansea City were comprehensive victors on the road to Stourport with Danielle Doherty, Natalie Blyth and Sophie Clayton on the score sheet.
Meg Crowson and Jennifer Burry were on target for Isca in their 2-0 win against Cheltenham and Nora Ilkei scored the lone goal in Slough’s 1-0 win over Trojans.
Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 13 2014):
Investec Women’s Premier Division: Clifton 1, Buckingham 0; Surbiton 0, Reading 0; Holcombe 3, Bowdon Hightown 0; Beeston 1, Canterbury 5; University of Birmingham 0, Leicester 0.
Investec Women’s Conference East: Sevenoaks 0, East Grinstead 3; Bedford 1, Horsham 2; Wimbledon 2, Ipswich 0; Chelmsford 1, St Albans 1; Maidenhead 1, Harleston Magpies 0.
Investec Women’s Conference North: Brooklands Poynton 3, Ben Rhydding 1; University of Durham 1, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1; Liverpool Sefton 0, Loughborough Students 3; Wakefield 3, Cannock 1; Sutton Coldfield 7, Kendal 1.
Investec Women’s Conference West: Trojans 0, Slough 1; Oxford Hawks 3, Gloucester City 3; Bristol Firebrands 4, Olton and West Warwickshire 0; Isca 2, Cheltenham 0; Stourport 0, Swansea City 3.
All the latest news and results via www.englandhockey.co.uk