The M1's entertained Birmingham University on Sunday with their place next season in the new Division One tier of EHL assured, but with the visitors still looking to secure theirs. Hawks' opening five minute spell was positive without managing to really open up the Birmingham defence and it was the students who then took a stranglehold on the game through their strong midfield, opening the scoring on nine minutes with a converted penalty corner. Jack Biggs levelled the scores nine minutes later also from a penalty corner but Birmingham tightened their grip on the game with two quick fire goals from open play to open up a deserved two goal lead. Fortunately for Hawks they managed to reduce the arrears on the stroke of half time when Biggs converted another penalty corner and this sent the home side into the break with a renewed sense of optimism. The second half proved a completely different affair, with Hawks quickly into the ascendancy and Biggs completing a hatrick of corners on forty minutes to level the scores. Ten minutes later Hawks hit the front for the first time when a quick break down the right flank by Ed Ellis saw the ball moved to Matt Wood who spun to finish well from close in. Hawks now had their tails up and extended their lead five minutes later when a defensive slip allowed Daniel Rayney to steal possession and lay a perfect pass into the path of Wood who made no mistake from ten yards. But the students were not finished and with five minutes left on the clock they brought the score back to 5-4 with a neatly deflected penalty corner routine. However, rather than endure a nervy finish, Hawks went into overdrive with first Biggs converting his fourth corner of the game and then Andy Watts bagging a brace in the final two minutes of the game - the second finishing off a flowing move started by Chris Shannon and highlighted by a forceful run from Hawks very own Massey Ferguson aka Ed Tristem. Although Hawks cannot catch league leaders Havant, they go into their final game of the season next week in second place in the league table.
Many thanks to Matthew Mason for the excellent photos.