Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
Holcombe 1 Surbiton 6
Surbiton fought back from the shock of conceding a goal after just 34 seconds to beat Holcombe 6-1 at Holcombe Park and stay ahead of Hampstead & Westminster on goal difference at the top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Surbiton gave a league debut to new signing Hayden Beltz, with Brendan Creed and David Goodfield returning to the squad after playing in the Four Nations tournament in Valencia. Both teams and umpires paid their respects on Remembrance Sunday before the game started in light drizzle.
In an action packed first 34 seconds, both teams committed instant turnovers, Surbiton goalkeeper Taylor Seager-Green made a fine save and Holcombe took the lead, Nick Bandurak finishing to briefly join Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth on twelve goals as the top flight’s leading goalscorer.
With Holcombe boasting the joint best defence in the division, nobody could have predicted that in the remaining 69 minutes of the game, Surbiton would score six goals to earn their first ever win at Holcombe.
With the rain replaced by glaring sunshine, Tom Sorsby levelled things up in the twelfth minute scoring his first league goal for the visitors in defiant style. Surbiton’s third penalty corner led to their second goal, James Royce’s shot being stopped by a defender, resulting in a penalty stroke award. Forsyth made no mistake from the spot in the 23rd minute to give Surbiton the lead for the first time.
David Goodfield found the backboard in the 30th minute to give Surbiton a 3-1 lead before Forsyth added a fourth goal a minute before the interval, finishing from the right of the circle, starting his celebration whilst continuing his run to the right of the goal before circling back towards his teammates.
Ten minutes after half time, Holcombe’s woes continued, Forsyth completing his hat-trick with a rebound after home goalkeeper Richard Curtis saved Tim Atkins’ shot from Surbiton’s seventh penalty corner.
Forsyth was in unstoppable form and completed the scoring with fifteen minutes to play, diving towards goal before slipping the ball past Curtis and off the backboard to seal what effectively turned out to be a rout.
In spite of Surbiton’s dominance, Holcombe still had chances to reduce the deficit but came up against a Surbiton team which undoubtedly put together their best performance of the season so far. Holcombe’s Louis Duprez was also superb in defence, frequently interrupting Surbiton’s attacking moves.
Hampstead battled to a 5-4 home victory over Brooklands Manchester University, whilst Beeston missed the opportunity to join Holcombe on 16 points after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Reading. East Grinstead are fifth after coming from 3-0 down to beat Wimbledon 4-3 and at the bottom of the table, the University of Exeter moved back above Sevenoaks with a 3-2 home win.
Scorer: Nick Bandurak 1-F
Squad: Richard Curtis (GK); Martin Robbins, Louis Duprez, Conor Caplan, Anton Parente Varela, Daniel Webster, Alistair Bray (Capt.), Robert Field, Harry Trusler, Alex Moen, Nick Bandurak.
Subs: Zach Mason (10 mins), Glenn Eyers (11), Tom O’Keeffe (12), James Davies (13), Jack Pogson (45).
Cards: Green: Daniel Webster (45 mins).
Scorers: Tom Sorsby 12-F, Alan Forsyth 23-PS, 34-F, 45-PC, 55-F; David Goodfield 30-F
Squad: Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), Arjan Drayton-Chana, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, Nicholas Parkes, Taylor Seager-Green (GK).
Subs: David Goodfield (6 mins), Hayden Beltz (7), Sam Spencer (8), William Marshall (10).
Cards: Green: Jonathan Gall (53 mins)
Match Official: Janet Sutton
Umpires: Nick Bennett and Sean Edwards