Sydney University women’s Premier League First Grade hockey team have returned to second position on the ladder after an impressive 3-1 victory over fellow finals bound team Esquires.

A strong performance by Sydney University from the opening whistle meant that Esquires did not get over the defensive 25 at all during a dominant first half. Despite this dominance the Students were unable to convert a number of chances and the score remained nil all at half time.

University came out strongly in the second half and were rewarded early through Nina Khoury, who had returned from an Australian representative camp the week before. The side continued to create scoring chances and Soph Brownhill eventually converted from a goal mouth scramble to put the University girls up two-nil.

Esquires then replied immediately and all of a sudden looked the better side. Some good team work by the University forwards led to another penalty corner which was slotted home by Jess Blake on the far post.

The score finished 3-1 which allowed the women’s first grade side to move back into the top two, with seven games left in the season.

Second grade maintained their strong record with a comfortable 2-0 win over Esquires. The win also lifted the side into second spot and should be enough to get them a spot in the top four come finals time.

The Premier Men’s sides had a tough task against the traditionally strong Sutherland Hockey Club. Second grade were up against last year’s premiers, however recent performances had been good, even though the results didn’t match.

University started a little slowly and Sutherland became the first to score courtesy of a penalty stroke for a poor tackle. Cam Rowlands almost made a great save lunging to his left, but deflected the ball into the net.

Down 1-0, University continued to create chances, but were unable to finish them off. The defence was very strong however and Ant McInnes and Ben Morrell repelled a number of dangerous Sutherland attacks.

The half-time team talk focussed on structure and patience and the boys certainly played with that, scoring early in the second half to tie the game up 1-1. At times it looked like the game was going to get away from the University side as it had in the weeks prior, however persistence was the key and with less than five minutes on the clock, Andy Elton scored his second to put the University side in front.

Sutherland pressed hard, but they were unable to grab the equaliser and the game finished with a memorable win for the University side.

Buoyed by the Second Grade result, a new look First Grade side with a couple of Spaniards playing their first game for the club, started well. Universities NSW representative Tom Lobsey opened the scoring to put the University side up 1-0.

The side started to gel quite well and created numerous scoring opportunities and a number of penalty corners. Unfortunately the side were unable to take advantage of the pressure they were putting on the Sutherland side and Sutherland were able to score a goal against the run of play to make it 1-1 at half time.

Sutherland started the much better side in the second half and immediately put the Sydney University side under pressure. Despite some great saves by Troy Rossiter in goal, Sutherland were able to score off a couple of penalty corners to push their lead out to 3-1.

University refused to back off, again winning a number of corners. With five minutes to go, Sydney University finally converted one of these corners to reduce the margin to 1. Unfortunately this is the way the score would stay as University pressed the Sutherland side, but were unable to create another scoring opportunity.

Premier Women’s
1st Grade: Beat Esquires 3-1. Goal Scorers; Nina Khoury, Soph Brownhill and Jess Blake
2nd Grade: Beat Esquires 2-0. Goal Scorers; Krista Jenkins and Jemima Bartlett.

Premier Men’s
1st Grade: Lost 3-2 to Sutherland. Goal Scorers; Tom Lobsey and Sam Lobsey.
2nd Grade: Beat Sutherland 2-1. Goal scorers; Andy Elton (2)

Lower Grade Men’s
3rd Grade: Beat Sutherland 3-1
4th Grade: Beat Sutherland 3-1
5th Grade: Drew with Ryde 2-2
6th Grade: Lost to Ryde 2-1