Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
Surbiton 1 University of Exeter 1
After the high intensity of a local derby against Wimbledon in week one, Surbiton had to settle for a point against newly promoted University of Exeter on Saturday night.
Exeter’s loyal supporters who came from Devon in their numbers were rewarded for a disciplined performance after the disappointment of losing 4-1 at home to East Grinstead on home turf in their first match of the season.
Nevertheless, Exeter could have gone home pointless if David Goodfield’s open play effort with seven minutes to play hadn’t been ruled out after an umpire consultation.
Surbiton, aiming to build on their 3-1 win over their local rivals, came close to taking an early lead, Ben Boon denied by visiting goalkeeper, Elliott Bullman. Alan Forsyth, last season’s divisional top scorer and already with two goals to his name going into the match was tightly marked by Tomek Bruml.
With both sides showing attacking intent both from open play and penalty corners and Surbiton goalkeeper, Harry Gibson also in fine form, spectators had to wait until the 49th minute for the deadlock to be broken, James Royce, playing his second game for Surbiton after rejoining from Reading, finding the backboard against his former club. Royce had scored for Exeter in their thrilling 4-3 win in Devon in February 2010.
Exeter had threatened with two penalty corner awards in the first half and it was third time lucky in the 52nd minute when Surbiton failed to clear, James Thomas rifling the ball into the top right corner to delight the visiting supporters.
The Exeter defenders breathed a sigh of relief when an aerial ball from Goodfield was deflected by Forsyth only for Bullman to make a superb glove save. Surbiton also failed to convert two penalty corners in the final ten minutes.
Surbiton have only met Exeter on five occasions in the top flight and the last three meetings have now all ended up as 1-1 draws, Surbiton’s only victory coming in a 6-2 win at Sugden Road in October 2009.
On Saturday, Holcombe beat Sevenoaks 6-0 and Beeston won 3-1 at East Grinstead, with Hampstead & Westminster poised to join them on maximum points with a home win over Wimbledon on Sunday afternoon.
Surbiton visit East Grinstead next Saturday (6 October) as the second part of a men’s/ women’s doubleheader (push back 6 pm).
Scorer: James Royce 49-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Ben Boon, Jonny Gall (Capt.), Zach Wallace, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, Sam Spencer, James Gall.
Subs: Tom Sorsby (6 mins), David Goodfield (6), Conor Williamson (6), William Marshall (8), Luke Taylor (10).
Card: Green: Zach Wallace
University of Exeter:
Scorer: James Thomas 52-PC
Squad: Thomas Butler, William Carter-Keall (Capt.), Kiran Patel, Tom Stevenson, Sam Hooper, Tomek Bruml, Daniel Jackson, George Carson, Archie Winter, James Carson, Elliott Bullman (GK).
Subs: Matt Cornwell (7 mins), James Thomas (8), James Ferguson (8), Ben Cooke (8), James Cunningham (18).
Match Official: Ray Strudwick
Umpires: Campbell Reeman and Nick White