Olton & WW 3
University of Birmingham 2
THE anticipation towards this crucial Investec Ladies Premier Hockey League game had been building long before the snow.
Olton had known for some weeks that local rivals the University of Birmingham would be their opponents in the last game of the season in their battle to avoid being dragged into the relegation play-offs.
After a loss to Canterbury and to Slough, this game had become the decider. Win by three goals and Olton would side-step the end of season lottery.
The team were confident they had the correct tactics to beat the University - the question was could they get a three goal advantage.
However eight minutes into the game the visitors were ahead. It certainly wasn’t the ideal start but Olton hit back to score a deflected short corner from Julie Stowe.
There followed good chances for both sides, and as half-time approached a late goal from Mandy Gatherer gave Olton the lead.
Olton threw everything into attack, hitting the post twice.
Then Vikki Hopkins extended the lead to 3-1 in the 60th minute. But then a break away and quickly taken free-hit saw the visitors score bringing them back into the game at 3-2 in the 65th minute.
Olton did all they could, even taking the goal keeper off to bring on the extra forward, but it was not enough.
This leaves Olton playing Beeston at Cannock on Sunday, and Buckingham and Harleston Magpies at Reading two weeks later in their bid to remain in the Premier League.