Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
Surbiton 3 Wimbledon 1
Surbiton Men beat local rivals Wimbledon for the first time on home turf in the Premier Division at Sugden Road in front of a large crowd on Saturday night.
Surbiton had only previously beaten Wimbledon once in a top flight matchup when they won 2-1 at Kings College School last season, but a dominant first half performance gave them a three goal cushion at half time and although Wimbledon pulled a goal back at the start of the second half, the reigning champions came out on top in what proved to be a feisty London derby.
Tim Atkins, Tom Sorsby and Ben Boon all made their league debuts for Surbiton, with James Royce returning to the club after spells in Perth, Australia; at the University of Exeter and at Reading.
Prolific goalscorer, Alan Forsyth only needed eight minutes to open his 2018-19 season account, firing home to give Surbiton the initiative. Atkins added a second on his debut in the 16th minute before Forsyth struck again with a sublime finish from the left of the circle six minutes before the interval, the ball ending up in the netting, just under the central point of the crossbar.
Against Wimbledon, a three goal lead can never be considered safe and when the visitors’ captain, Ben Arnold pulled a goal back from open play just three minutes after half time, there were brief thoughts that Surbiton might have to battle to preserve their lead.
However there was no further scoring on a thoroughly wet night in Elmbridge, however the teams shared four yellow cards in yet another hotly contested match between the teams.
Surbiton captain Jonny Gall was banished to the sin-bin together with Wimbledon’s Ed Horler in the 21st minute as both players saw yellow to earn five minute rests.
Gall saw yellow again in the 49th minute, five minutes after Wimbledon’s Michael Hoare had also been sent to the naughty step as tensions threatened to rise on the opening day of the season, but the last fifteen minutes were relatively incident free with Surbiton making a winning start as they aim for a hat-trick of national titles.
Surbiton host newly promoted University of Exeter on 29 September (push back 6 pm).
Scorers: Alan Forsyth 8-F, 29-F; Tim Atkins 16-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonny Gall (Capt.), Zach Wallace, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, Sam Spencer.
Subs: David Goodfield (5 mins), James Gall (6), Conor Williamson (6), Willie Marshall (8), Luke Taylor (10).
Cards: Yellow: Jonny Gall (21 mins and 49 mins).
Scorer: Ben Arnold 38-F
Squad: James Bailey (GK); Ben Arnold (Capt.), Ben Tibble, Henry Weir, Chad Conlon, Michael Hoare, Phil Roper, Jonny Codling, Iain Lewers, Jonty Griffiths, Gordon McIntyre.
Subs: Ian Sloan (3 mins), Ed Horler (5), Jack Waller (6), Eugene Malthouse (8), Adam Price (8).
Cards: Green: Jonty Griffiths (8 mins). Yellow: Ed Horler (21 mins), Michael Hoare (44 mins).
Match Official: Debbie Garner
Umpires: Sean Edwards and Nick Padget