ColinMen’s Hockey League Championship Final
Surbiton 3 Hampstead & Westminster 3 (Surbiton win 3-2 on shootout)
Surbiton retained their MHL Championship title winning a dramatic shootout after scoring late to force shuffles for the second year running.
Hampstead & Westminster had finished fourth in the MHL Premier Division at the end of the regular season, but ensured that league leaders Wimbledon would have to settle for the second ranked England team in next season’s Euro Hockey League, winning 2-1 in the first semi-final, thanks to goals from Matt Guise-Brown and Sam French, Peter Friend scoring a last minute consolation goal for Wimbledon.
Surbiton then beat Beeston for the third time this season, Arjan Drayton Chana and Nick Parkes scoring early in the third quarter, Beeston only able to respond through Mark Gleghorne’s penalty corner conversion with eleven minutes to play.
Surbiton and Hampstead combined to produce one of the best finals ever, Surbiton seeming to be in control after Alan Forsyth scored either side of the first quarter break, from open play in the 14th minute and then from the penalty spot in the 16th minute after Drayton Chana was brought down in the circle.
Hampstead fought back to be on level terms by half time, Chris Cargo converting a penalty corner in the 22nd minute and Will Calnan scoring the goal of the match two minutes before the interval, rifling in the ball into the top right corner from the left of the circle with a spectacular finish.
Hampstead’s comeback was completed in the 42nd minute, Matt Guise-Brown, their prolific goal scorer wheeling away after yet another penalty corner conversion to leave the reigning champions trailing 3-2.
Just as against Wimbledon last season, Gareth Furlong forced a shootout with a penalty corner two minutes from time to make the final score in normal time 3-3, exactly the same score as in the 2017 final.
And incredibly, Surbiton were to win the shootout by the same score, 3-2, but this time the shootout went to sudden death before the destination of the league trophy was confirmed.
Hampstead went first, Michael Watt putting his attempt past the left post, with Surbiton’s Sam Spencer also missing the target shooting high and left to keep the scoreline blank. Calnan found the backboard to put Hampstead 1-0 ahead, only for Forsyth to manoeuvre himself in front of Hampstead goalkeeper, Jamie Legg to easily put the ball away and level the scores.
Harry Martin restored Hampstead’s lead via the backboard, and the lead was to be kept until the tenth and final attempt. Zach Wallace forced a double save from Legg and Sam French’s shot was glove saved by Surbiton goalkeeper, Harry Gibson. Luke Noblett was denied by Legg to give Chris Cargo the chance to win the title for Hampstead, only for Gibson to make a pad save.
David Goodfield stepped up to keep Surbiton in the match and made no mistake to force sudden death with the score 2-2. With Sudden Death the order changed, Surbiton going first with Forsyth giving Surbiton the lead for the first time. Martin tried to score at the right post, but Gibson blocked his shot to start massive celebrations for the Sugden Road club’s players.
Calnan was deservedly named as Player of the Match and Hampstead Player/Coach Kwan Browne will be disappointed that his team came so close to glory but has the consolation of knowing that he has a foundation to build on for next season.
Scorers: Alan Forsyth 14-F, 16-PS; Gareth Furlong 58-PC
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Luke Noblett, Jonny Gall, Chris Grassick (Capt.), Arjan Drayton Chana, Zach Wallace, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, James Gall.
Subs: Sam Spencer (4 mins), Lewis Prosser (5), Gareth Furlong (6), Rob Farrington (7), Nick Parkes (19), Scott Evans (30). Sub not used: Taylor Seager-Green (GK).
Hampstead & Westminster:
Scorers: Chris Cargo 22-PC, Will Calnan 28-F, Matt Guise-Brown 42-PC
Squad: Jamie Legg (GK); Richard Smith, Geoff McCabe, Marc Edwards, Toby Roche (Capt.), Michael Watt, Sam French, Matt Guise-Brown, Harry Martin, Kwan Browne, Will Calnan.
Subs: Chris Cargo (4 mins), Stephen Dowds (4), Will Byas (5), Rupert Shipperley (6), Steve Kelly (7), Joe Crame (23). Sub not used: George Ratcliffe (GK).
Umpires: Dan Barstow and Paul Walker
Colin Pike : Images - Peter Smith, Tim Reder