Men’s Hockey League Premier Division
Sevenoaks 2 Surbiton 5
Surbiton now have a three point lead over second placed Hampstead & Westminster in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division at the halfway point of the regular season following their 5-2 win at Sevenoaks and Hampstead’s 5-3 defeat at East Grinstead.
Sevenoaks still have hopes of avoiding automatic relegation, but their position will be made clearer on 2 December when the University of Exeter host Wimbledon in a match postponed due to Wimbledon’s participation in the Euro Hockey League.
In sunny but chilly conditions at Hollybush Lane, both teams took time to settle down although having sustained opening pressure from Surbiton, Tom Chandler missed the chance to put Sevenoaks ahead in the eighth minute, failing to get his shot on target.
Brandon Gibbs, Chris Barker and Louis Tipper all worked hard in the Sevenoaks defence, but there was nothing either they or goalkeeper, Richard Potton could do when Surbiton’s Sam Spencer volleyed the ball into the net in the 14th minute.
Four minutes later, James Royce’s shot from a penalty corner resulted in a penalty stroke being awarded. Alan Forsyth slotted the ball past Potton and off the backboard to double Surbiton’s lead, but Sevenoaks’ Gurmukh Bhamra watched the stroke from the naughty step after seeing green for delaying the stroke by talking to goalkeeper Potton.
Sevenoaks showed plenty of spirit during the match and their loyal supporters were rewarded in the 20th minute when their captain, Tim Warrington pulled a goal back, however Arjan Drayton Chana’s finish in the 24th minute restored Surbiton’s two goal advantage to give them a 3-1 half time lead.
Surbiton’s supporters experienced dêja-vu in the 41st minute when for the second time in the match, a Janes Royce penalty corner shot resulted in a penalty stroke award. Forsyth found the backboard once again for his eighteenth league goal of the campaign to put Surbiton 4-1 ahead.
In the 48th minute, Surbiton captain Jonathan Gall scored his side’s fifth goal from close range, with Barker scoring Sevenoaks’ second consolation goal in the 69th minute.
Hampstead’s unbeaten league run finally ended at East Grinstead, although having trailed 4-1, they closed the gap to 4-3 after utilising a kicking back, but a fifth East Grinstead goal sealed their fate. Beeston are six points behind Surbiton after a 1-0 win over Holcombe, who drop to fourth. East Grinstead only trail Holcombe on goal difference with Reading, 4-2 winners over the University of Exeter on Saturday night, two points further behind.
Brooklands Manchester University won 5-2 at Wimbledon to move four points clear of both Wimbledon and Exeter, although both teams have the game in hand on 2 December.
Scorers: Tim Warrington 20-F, Chris Barker 69-F
Squad: Richard Potton (GK); Brandon Gibbs, George Lilley, Nick Barker, Tim Warrington (Capt.), Ali Taylor, Chris Barker, Tom Chandler, Craig Morton, Gurmukh Bhamra, Louis Tipper.
Subs: Tom Graham (6 mins), Tom Moore (10), Edward Matts (11), Benjamin Fox (11). Sub not used: Duncan Parnis.
Cards: Green: Nick Barker (18 mins), Gurmukh Bhamra (41 mins). Yellow: Nick Barker (47 mins).
Scorers: Sam Spencer 14-F, Alan Forsyth 18-PS, 41-PS, Arjan Drayton Chana 24-F, Jonathan Gall 48-F
Squad: Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Hayden Beltz, Taylor Seager-Green (GK).
Subs: Arjan Drayton Chana (5 mins), Sam Spencer (8), Nicholas Parkes (8), William Marshall (11).
Card: Green: Sam Spencer (53 mins).
Match Official: Debbie Garner
Umpires: Andy Higgins and Campbell Reeman