DURHAM University firsts slipped three points off the pace when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Stourport in the Investec England Hockey League’s Conference North.
Nicola Moss fired Stourport ahead from a penalty corner 10 minutes into the second half, but Alice Freeman levelled eight minutes later.
Sophie Clough’s Durham side – beaten by leaders Wakefield in their last home match – entertain old rivals Loughborough Students at Maiden Castle on Saturday (noon).
Durham’s seconds remain top in the North League Premier Division despite being held to a third successive draw, by Whitley Bay and Tynemouth seconds.
H Sunderland Broom scored their first goals of the season last week, but could not prevent a sixth successive defeat in the North League’s Division Two North East, 9-2 to visitors Stockton Roseberry.
The Wearsiders visit Newcastle Medics, who have managed just one win this term, on Saturday (11.30am).
Durham University thirds top the table after making it seven wins out seven by beating Alnwick 1-0.