On yet another cold and very wet Wednesday afternoon, as seems to be the norm this time of year, the Women’s 1st XI Hockey Team had a very important BUCS Semi Finals fixture against the arch-rivals Loughborough. They needed this win in order to proceed to the final in order to attempt to maintain their title as BUCS champions, by no means an easy feat. The team standing in their was Loughborough, a university known for their sporting prestige. The last time these two teams met Birmingham ran out winners over Loughborough in a 6-0 rout. With a large crowd gathering down at Bournbrook, all coming prepared to cope with the worsening weather conditions , it was clear it was going to be a fantastic and high quality match for all to experience.
Birmingham came out hard from the start, holding the majority of the possession. This intense start put Loughborough under constant pressure. Unfortunately Birmingham were not able to capitalise on these opportunities. Birmingham maintained their strength throughout the first half with the full backs advancing forward at every opportunity into Loughborough’s half. Birmingham were constantly in the D, peppering the Loughborough goal with shot after shit. However, it was the Loughborough goalkeeper that prevented them from scoring following a fantastic shot from the Birmingham attack. Loughborough’s defence began to tire as he game went on, allowing Birmingham to score off a short corner, to the delight of the home crowd. With just a few minutes left of the first half Birmingham scored another goal, this time from open play. Birmingham out-skilled Loughborough’s defence allowing for a strike at goal which the Loughborough goalkeeper saved, however, the ball was then flicked into the air for a Birmingham player to hit the ball on a volley into the goal. It was incredible to watch and deservingly all the Birmingham players huddled round in celebration. These two goals right at the end of the first half gave Birmingham the confidence they needed to continue their strength and intensity in the second half.
Loughborough came out fighting in the second half knowing that a place in the BUCS finals was at stake. However, Birmingham maintained their dominance throughout the match. Unfortunately Loughborough on the break managed to be awarded a succession of short corners in a row. The outstanding ability of Birmingham’s defence was demonstrated throughout this series of short corners as they remained calm and trusted themselves and their teammates, which allowed them to save all four short corners. Within the final 5 minutes of the match Loughborough scored a scrappy goal, which will undoubtedly have frustrated the Birmingham coach. Loughborough’s adrenaline was high in the hope that they could clinch a victory over Birmingham in the last few minutes of the game as the match was really heating up now. Birmingham kept their composure and scored yet another goal in the closing minutes of the game meaning that the final score of this match was 3-1.
I think that the @UOBHC girls are happy with their win today pic.twitter.com/FQSn1D5xPK
— BurnFM Sport (@BurnFM_Sport) March 2, 2016
Birmingham celebrating their second final in just years
As the final whistle blew to signal the end of the game it also signalled the start of celebrations for the Birmingham players. They all ran together at the end, throwing their sticks down in order to huddle together, cheer and sing songs in celebration. They advance to the BUCS finals to face Exeter next week where if they maintain they excellent play this season they will hopefully be champions once again this year.