11 March 2018
Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
Hampstead & Westminster 5 Surbiton 4
Beeston replaced Surbiton at the top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division table after the Nottingham club beat Sevenoaks 3-1 and reigning champions, Surbiton inexplicably failed to hold on to a 4-2 lead with just three minutes remaining, to lose 5-4 to Hampstead & Westminster at Paddington Recreation Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Jonny Gall, although named on the bench was unable to play due to a hand injury and Surbiton suffered another injury setback when Lewis Prosser walked off the pitch with his arm in a sling.
Hampstead needed the win to keep their chances of snatching a top four place alive and Kwan Browne helped them on their way from the penalty spot in the twelfth minute, slotting the ball into the top left corner beyond Surbiton goalkeeper, Taylor Seager-Green.
Surbiton were behind for just six minutes before Luke Taylor’s drag-flick ended up in the left corner past Hampstead goalkeeper, Jamie Legg from Surbiton’s second penalty corner. Captain, Chris Grassick, gave Surbiton the lead with a brilliant individual score, a run towards goal followed by a perfect finish in the 26th minute.
Two minutes later, Hampstead were back on level terms, Matt Guise Brown equalising with a penalty corner conversion to leave all to play for in the second half.
Alan Forsyth had been unfortunate not to score, especially after a penetrating through ball set up a one on one opportunity with Legg, but two goals in a five minute spell seemed to have put Surbiton on the way to an important win.
The first, in the 48th minute came from Surbiton’s third penalty corner, Legg saving Gareth Furlong’s drag-flick only for Forsyth to put away the rebound from the left of the circle. The second was Forsyth’s clinical open play finish which gave Surbiton a 4-2 lead on the ground where they had won 4-3 the season before and took the Premier Division’s leading goalscorer’s tally to 22 for the season.
With three minutes remaining, Surbiton still led 4-2, but the turning point seemed to be when Forsyth was shown a green card for trying to intercept a Hampstead free hit too quickly. Surbiton were reduced to ten players and Hampstead didn’t hesitate to take advantage.
The unlikely comeback started in the 68th minute when Browne was given a second opportunity to score with a penalty stroke. Surbiton experienced dȇja-vu as Browne reduced the deficit to 4-3 with an identical stroke, but even the most diehard Hampstead supporter could not have dreamt what would unfold over the next two minutes.
Matt Guise Brown was deadly, equalising from open play in the penultimate minute before converting Hampstead’s ninth penalty corner with seconds to spare to send the home supporters into raptures as the hosts earned their first national league win over Surbiton since December 2011 when Hampstead won 2-1 at Paddington Recreation Ground. Surbiton had won nine and drawn two of the last eleven meetings, but Guise Brown’s fourteenth goal of the season ended Hampstead’s barren run.
Beeston lead Surbiton by two points with a game in hand and third placed Reading and fourth placed Wimbledon could also overtake Surbiton if they win their games in hand. Reading followed up their 3-1 home win over Surbiton on Saturday with a 7-3 win at East Grinstead while Wimbledon were more conservative, their 1-0 win at Holcombe ending the Kent club’s hopes of finishing in the top four.
Kent rivals, Sevenoaks and Canterbury will battle it out to determine which team will be automatically relegated and which team will battle for top flight status via the Promotion Tournament after Brooklands Manchester University’s 6-0 home win over Canterbury ensured that they can’t be overtaken by either Kent club.
Surbiton will aim to end their run of three successive defeats when they host East Grinstead on 17 March at 6 pm. East Grinstead are all but eliminated from the playoff race, eight points off fourth place with just three games left. Surbiton have the prospect of visiting leaders Beeston on the last day of the season, so will want to try and build some momentum to finish off the regular season.
Hampstead & Westminster:
Scorers: Kwan Browne 12-PS, 68-PS; Matt Guise-Brown 28-PC, 69-F, 70-PC
Squad: Jamie Legg (GK); Stephen Kelly, Richard Smith, Geoff McCabe, Marc Edwards, Toby Roche (Capt.), Michael Watt, Sam French, Matt Guise-Brown, Kwan Browne, Will Calnan.
Subs: Rupert Shipperley (4 mins), Will Byas (5), James Simpson (6), Stephen Dowds (7), Jonny Gooch (8).
Scorer: Luke Taylor 18-PC, Chris Grassick 26-F, Alan Forsyth 48-PC, 53-F.
Squad: Luke Taylor, Lewis Prosser, Chris Grassick (Capt.), Arjan Drayton-Chana, Willie Marshall, Zach Wallace, Gareth Furlong, Alan Forsyth, Sam Spencer, Nick Parkes, Taylor Seager-Green (GK).
Subs: Adam Buckle (8 mins), Scott Evans (9), Dave Bartram (11), Conor Williamson (11).
Sub not used: Jonny Gall.
Match Official: David Collier
Umpires: Bruce Bale and Martin Twist
10 March 2018
Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
Reading 3 Surbiton 1
Surbiton Men suffered their second successive league defeat, going down 3-1 to Reading in a rearranged match at Sonning Lane on Saturday afternoon.
The fixture was originally scheduled for the evening of 24 February, but near push back time there had been concerns about ice forming on the pitch as the temperature dropped, resulting in the match being postponed.
Surbiton were without Brendan Creed, James Gall, Harry Gibson and David Goodfield, all on England duty at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia and took a fourteen player squad to Berkshire including youngsters Adam Buckle, Morgan Males, Conor Williamson and Zach Wallace.
Both teams tested each other out early on, Tom Carson coming close to giving Reading the lead after mistiming his dive to guide the ball home.
The deadlock was broken in the 17th minute, Richard Mantell giving Reading the lead from the penalty spot. Two minutes later, Mantell was on hand to double the hosts’ lead from a penalty corner.
In the 23rd minute, Surbiton pulled a goal back with the second penalty stroke of the match. Alan Forsyth’s turn to dispatch the ball past former Surbiton goalkeeper, Tommy Alexander and bring the league leaders back into the match.
Mantell had other ideas and completed a first half hat-trick four minutes before half time, finding the backboard from Reading’s second penalty corner to earn a 3-1 half time lead.
The second half was goalless in spite of Reading forcing several penalty corners. In the course of working with his penalty corner defenders, young goalkeeper, Taylor Seager-Green made a double save and from a subsequent award, a brilliant save to his left to prevent Reading extending their lead. Surbiton also had the left post to thank as Reading maintained their penalty corner threat.
Surbiton’s Arjan Drayton-Chana was a threat to the Reading defence and for the second week running there were fears of injury when he went down in the circle, but thankfully after a brief rest he was able to continue and didn’t need the physio.
Alexander was in fine form in the Reading goal as he saved from both Forsyth and Willie Marshall to prevent Surbiton making a comeback.
The defeat meant that Beeston trailed Surbiton by a single point but had a game in hand, whilst Reading moved above Wimbledon into third place and close the gap between them and Surbiton to five points, again with a game in hand.
Scorer: Richard Mantell 17-PS, 20-PC, 31-PC.
Squad: Tommy Alexander (GK); Dan Kyriakides, Richard Mantell, Ben Boon, Dan Shingles, Tim Atkins, Oliver Deasy, James Royce, Owain Dolan Gray, Lee Morton, Tom Carson (Capt.)
Subs: Ben Francis (5 mins), Adam Miller (8), Nick Park (8), Duncan Riddell (10), Dale Hutchinson (11).
Scorer: Alan Forsyth 23-PS.
Squad: Luke Taylor, Lewis Prosser, Jonny Gall, Chris Grassick (Capt.), Arjan Drayton-Chana, Willie Marshall, Zach Wallace, Gareth Furlong, Alan Forsyth, Sam Spencer, Taylor Seager-Green (GK).
Subs: Conor Williamson (7 mins), Adam Buckle (8), Morgan Males (8).
Match Official: Andrew Marson
Umpires: Bruce Bale and Dan Barstow