Surbiton Men can finish top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division for the first time in their history if they get at least a point at home to Sevenoaks on Sunday (push back 2 pm).
Surbiton have never topped the Premier Division table at the end of the regular season, the closest they came was in 2014-15 when they missed out on goal difference to East Grinstead.
Sadly, Sevenoaks’ relegation from the Premier Division after two seasons in the top flight was confirmed last weekend, but the Kent club will be determined to make the most of their final two games of the season.
Sevenoaks have struggled all season after losing their first two games by heavy margins. A 4-0 loss at Beeston was followed by a 6-0 loss at Holcombe. Although they earned their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Brooklands Manchester University, Sevenoaks went on to lose 2-0 at home to Hampstead & Westminster; 5-2 at Wimbledon and 3-2 at East Grinstead.
A second point came in a 0-0 draw at home to Reading but although they were ninth, they lost 3-2 at the University of Exeter on 11 November and have been bottom of the table ever since.
When Surbiton visited Sevenoaks a week later, Surbiton won 5-2 to open up a three point lead.
Sevenoaks ended 2018 with a 2-2 draw at home to East Grinstead, but 2019 has seen Sevenoaks lose six matches in a row to confirm their relegation.
Narrow 3-2 defeats at Reading and in an important clash at the University of Exeter plus disastrous 8-1 losses at Hampstead & Westminster and 6-0 at home to Wimbledon left them on the precipice, and a subsequent 3-1 defeat at Holcombe and last week’s 6-4 thriller at Brooklands Manchester University confirmed the inevitable.
Sevenoaks have found the net 21 times this season with Tim Warrington top scorer on five goals. Andrew Oxburgh and Duncan Parnis have both scored three times with Ali Taylor, Edward Matts, Tom Chandler, Chris Barker and Andrew Ross all scoring twice each.
Meanwhile Surbiton, having won the top of the table clash at Hampstead & Westminster last Sunday with two late goals from Alan Forsyth and Zach Wallace have the prospect of another season in the Euro Hockey League after next month’s campaign in Eindhoven.
Elsewhere, Hampstead & Westminster host East Grinstead, who are not sure of a playoff place. Holcombe will be hoping to move into fourth with one game remaining with victory at home to Brooklands Manchester University, another club still in playoff contention.
Beeston are poised to join Surbiton and Hampstead & Westminster in the playoffs but are at home to a Wimbledon club now in superb form having pulled away from the threat of relegation with four successive wins without conceding a goal.
Reading, although in seventh, can still mathematically qualify for the playoffs as they travel to the University of Exeter, bound for the Promotion Tournament if they want to keep their top flight status.