Men’s Hockey League Championships Semi-Final – 13 April 2019

SURBITON 21 EAST GRINSTEAD

Scorers: James Royce 25-PC, Luke Taylor 30+-PC

Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Ben Boon, Jonny Gall (Capt.), Zach Wallace, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Hayden Beltz, James Gall.

Subs: Dave Beckett (4 mins), Tom Sorsby (5), Nick Parkes (5), Sam Spencer (6), Arjan Drayton Chana (7), Lewis Prosser (8). 

Sub not used: Taylor Seager-Green (GK).

Umpires: Nick Bennett and Paul Walker

Surbiton Men will go for a hat-trick of Men’s Hockey League Championships on Sunday (push back 1.45 pm) after beating East Grinstead 2-1, in the first semi-final at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Surbiton will play Hampstead & Westminster in a repeat of last year’s final after Hampstead beat Beeston 2-1 in the second semi-final. After 39 goalless minutes, Rupert Shipperley put Hampstead ahead in the 40th minute only for Joe Sharp to level for Beeston a minute later.

A superb finish from former Surbiton player, Will Calnan with seven minutes remaining earned Hampstead a second crack at their London rivals.

Surbiton led 2-0 at half time, but East Grinstead pushed them all the way, threatening to take the tie to a shootout to decide which team would face either Hampstead & Westminster or Beeston in the final.

Alan Forsyth was presented with the trophy for MHL Premier Division Player of the Season before the match and came close to giving Surbiton the lead in the first minute.

Two minutes later, Forsyth was only stopped by East Grinstead’s Rory Patterson after excellent support play by Ben Boon.

Forsyth fired wide right in the twelfth minute with East Grinstead’s main attacking threat of the first quarter defused by Harry Gibson’s kick out of the circle after East Grinstead’s Wesley Jackson had taken multiple free hits from the left side of the pitch.

Surbiton had to wait until the second quarter to force their first penalty corner, which was mistrapped with a subsequent award seeing Luke Taylor’s shot blocked.

Five minutes before half time, the deadlock was broken, James Royce finishing off a manoeuvered routine to put the reigning champions ahead. In a dramatic final minute of the first half, East Grinstead failed to take advantage of their only penalty corner of the match, Surbiton earning a free hit, only for Surbiton to force their fourth corner of the game mere seconds before the half time hooter, Taylor making no mistake, the ball clinically drag-flicked and rebounding off the backboard giving Patrick Smith little chance.

Surbiton seemed to be cruising, but East Grinstead pulled a goal back five minutes into the second half, former Surbiton player, Liam Ansell, finding enough room in the centre of the circle to smash the ball past Gibson.

Arjan Drayton Chana gave Forsyth the chance to restore Surbiton’s two goal lead, but Forsyth’s shot rebounded off the crossbar.

With East Grinstead trailing 2-1 and just over three minutes remaining, they elected to replace goalkeeper Smiith with a kicking back and came close to levelling, Ben Mackey sliding in to send the ball past the left post and Taylor needed in the Surbiton defence to calmly see out the game.

Surbiton’s Sam Spencer and Brendan Creed were also selected with Forsyth to the MHL Premier Division All Star Team.

More information about the Men’s tournament can be found here