Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
Sevenoaks 1 Surbiton 3
Surbiton maintained their four point lead over Beeston at the top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division with a 3-1 win at relegation threatened Sevenoaks on Saturday evening whilst Beeston, with a game in hand, kept up the pressure with a 2-0 home win over Holcombe on Sunday.
Surbiton were without Scottish internationals, Alan Forsyth, Chris Grassick, Willie Marshall and Nick Parkes, all on duty at the Five Nations Tournament in Malaga. As per Surbiton tradition, youngsters Zach Wallace, Adam Buckle, Morgan Males and Conor Williamson were all included for the squad for the trip to Kent.
Sevenoaks, only ahead of Kent rivals Canterbury on goal difference at the bottom of the table, made the early running in Kent rain to put the Surbiton defence under pressure. The hosts would have taken a seventh minute lead if not for Surbiton goalkeeper, Harry Gibson’s glove save. Gibson was the difference between Surbiton taking all three points and Sevenoaks getting something out of the match as Sevenoaks’ 6-2 defeat at Sugden Road earlier in the season became a distant memory.
Surbiton’s youth policy paid dividends in the twelfth minute, Buckle setting up Williamson’s first senior goal to give the visiting supporters plenty to celebrate.
In the 23rd minute, after Arjan Drayton Chana’s run had led to Surbiton’s first penalty corner award, Luke Taylor’s enabled Surbiton to double their lead a trademark drag-flick rebounding off the backboard as Surbiton went in at half time with a 2-0 lead.
With eleven minutes to play, Buckle ran down the right wing before pulling the ball back to the edge of the circle, from where Dave Bartram’s superb shot seemed to be the killer blow.
However, to their credit, Sevenoaks didn’t give up and received a deserved reward when following Gibson’s save from Duncan Parnis, Tejinder Hanspal poked home the rebound at the left post two minutes from the end for a consolation goal.
Canterbury lost 5-0 at Reading on Sunday to remain at the bottom of the table behind Sevenoaks. Canterbury are Surbiton’s next opponents at Sugden Road on 11 February. When the teams met on the opening day of the season at Polo Farm, Surbiton ran out 6-2 winners.
Scorers: Conor Williamson 12-F, Luke Taylor 23-PC, Dave Bartram 59-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Jonny Gall (Capt.), Arjan Drayton Chana, Zach Wallace, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Dave Bartram, Adam Buckle, Sam Spencer, James Gall.
Subs: Lewis Prosser (6″), Morgan Males (9″), Conor Williamson (9″), Gareth Furlong (10″). Sub Not Used: Rob Farrington
Umpires: Dan Barstow and Campbell Reeman
Match Official: Ray Strudwick
Authur: Colin Pike