England: 5 Star Surbiton Keeps European Hopes Alive

Men’s Hockey League Premier Division Review – 9/10 April 2022

Surbiton’s hopes of joining Old Georgians in Europe next season were kept alive following a stunning 5-1 home win over rivals Wimbledon at Sugden Road on Saturday night. Surbiton closed to within two points of Wimbledon with one match to play. Surbiton visit Hampstead & Westminster on 23 April and Wimbledon go to champions Old Georgians.

Simon Parker/SP Action Images
Surbiton v Wimbledon – MHL Premier Division at Sugden Road, Long Ditton, London, UK on 09 April 2022. Photo by Simon Parker/SP Action Images

Ben Boon opened the scoring in the fourth minute and James Gall doubled Surbiton’s lead on the quarter-hour mark. Wimbledon’s Ed Horler scored his 20th goal of the season from a 20th minute penalty corner but Alex Williams restored Surbiton’s two goal advantage from a 31st minute penalty corner. Sam Spencer increased the hosts’ advantage in the 51st minute from open play before Williams scored his second goal of the match, again from a penalty corner with just two minutes to play.

Hampstead cemented their fourth position with a 6-0 thrashing of East Grinstead at Paddington Recreation Ground, also on Saturday night. The game was delayed due to the unfortunate injury in the women’s equivalent match, and Hampstead also had to wait to open the scoring through James Oates in the 18th minute. Matt Ramshaw and Will Calnan added further goals before half time in the 25th and 34th minutes, all three goals coming from open play. Hampstead added three further goals in the second half and they all came from penalty corner conversions. Rupert Shipperley netted in the 41st minute and Matt Guise-Brown scored two quick goals in the 49th and 51st minute to leapfrog both Horler and Surbiton’s Luke Taylor as the Premier Division’s leading goalscorer with 21 goals.

On Sunday afternoon, Old Georgians had another convincing victory over Holcombe. In mid-March, Holcombe had lost 8-2 in Surrey and in Kent, they fared a little better as Old Georgians won 6-2 at Holcombe Park. Old Georgians scored three goals in five minutes, Chris Proctor scoring in the 13th minute and James Carson scoring in the 16th, both from open play before Tom Carson scored the third from an 18th minute penalty corner conversion. Jake Owen and Nick Bandurak mounted a mini-comeback with open play goals in the 20th and 23rd minutes respectively, but Sam Ward made the half time score 4-2 to the visitors with a 27th minute open play goal. In the second half, Tom Carson’s 45th minute open play goal and Chris Griffiths’ 59th minute penalty corner completed another convincing performance for the newly crowned champions.

In the Bottom 5, the relegation battle took another twist on Sunday afternoon, when the University of Exeter beat Beeston 4-3 in Devon to move back off the bottom of the table and open up a one point advantage over Durham University with one game to play. All seven goals came from open play.

Sam Apoola gave Beeston a fourth minute lead, only for Seb Ansley to level in the 16th minute. Brendan Andrews restored Beeston’s lead early in the second quarter and Exeter still trailed 2-1 at half time. Eddie Harper extended Beeston’s lead to 3-1 in the 41st minute before Charlie Taylor started Exeter’s comeback a minute later. Rhys Bradshaw levelled on the hour mark before Ansley scored what could prove to be a vital goal with less than a minute remaining to put the pressure back on Durham after Easter. On 23 April, Exeter head to Brooklands Manchester University and Durham University host Oxted. With Exeter having a 28 better goal difference, Durham will have to win and hope Exeter lose or draw to avoid relegation. Durham came close to beating Oxted when the teams first met in the North East in October, but Oxted won 3-2.

Beeston have now completed their fixtures with four successive defeats and will finish ninth, but Brooklands have hopes of pipping Oxted to seventh place after closing the gap between the teams to a single point with a 5-4 win in Surrey.

Oxted and Brooklands had drawn 4-4 at Oxted School in November, but Brooklands avenged their 6-2 home hammering in March with two goals in the last two minutes. Oxted fell behind in the second minute as Richard Slater opened the scoring from open play, but Oxted turned the match around as Lewis Fraser’s 14th minute penalty corner conversion and Chris Webster’s 37th minute open play goal gave the Surrey club a 2-1 lead. Joe Cotton made it three from open play in the 40th minute, but Peter Flanagan kept Brooklands in contention with a 49th minute penalty corner conversion and Aidan Khares levelled matters at 3-3 from open play in the 57th minute. Peter Friend put Oxted 4-3 ahead with just nine minutes remaining, but two penalty corner conversions in the final two minutes stunned Oxted. Mike Wood equalised in the penultimate minute as it seemed that the game would end 4-4 for a second time, but Peter Flanagan helped Brooklands go one better with a dramatic last minute winner.

1Old Georgians19171187177052
4Hampstead & Westminster19102752421032
6East Grinstead1932142873-4511
Men’s Premier Division Top 6
2Brooklands MU176473767-3022
4University of Exeter1732124055-1511
5Durham University1731131861-4310
Men’s Premier Division Bottom 5

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