Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 7 October 2017
SURBITON 2–1 HAMPSTEAD & WESTMINSTER
Scorers: James Gall 54-F, Luke Taylor 67-PS
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Rob Farrington, Jonny Gall, Arjan Drayton Chana, Willie Marshall, Zach Wallace, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Nick Parkes, James Gall.
Subs: Sam Spencer 8″, Dave Bartram 8″, Lewis Prosser (Capt.) 9″, Conor Williamson 9″, Gareth Furlong 11″
Umpires: Dan Barstow and Martin Twist
Match Official: Jo Pennycook
Surbiton Men kept up their one hundred per cent record in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division but had to come back from a 1-0 half time deficit before they could claim all three points in a thrilling London derby.
Surbiton were without both Alan Forsyth and Chris Grassick, having lost Dave Beckett to a season ending injury on the opening day of the season at Canterbury. Youngster Conor Williamson made his first team debut as the defending champions demonstrated the depth of their squad.
Hampstead included former Surbiton players, Will Calnan, Stephen Kelly, Geoff McCabe, Rupert Shipperley and Michael Watt in their squad. Harry Martin, brother of Surbiton Ladies’ Hannah was also in the visitors’ squad.
David Goodfield shot narrowly wide right of the goal in the fourth minute, but Surbiton strugged in the first half against a Hampstead side which forced four penalty corners.
Surbiton went close to taking the lead in the 18th minute when David Bartram’s shot touched the left post, but it was Hampstead who took the lead seven minutes before half time, Shipperley striking to leave Surbiton trailing in a match for the first time this season.
Hampstead’s lead lasted until the 54th minute, Surbiton’s excellent attacking move ending with Willie Marshall finding James Gall whose superb finish delighted the home supporters and left all to play for. Gall had been clattered in the first half, resulting in play being suspended while he recovered from what appeared to be a back injury, but he was back on form in the second half.
The decisive moment came with three minutes to play when Rob Farrington was fouled in the circle with Surbiton awarded a penalty stroke as a result. Luke Taylor calmly slotted the stroke home to give Surbiton the lead with his sixth league goal of the season and keep up his record of scoring in every game this season.
There was late drama when Hampstead appeared to have been awarded a penalty stroke of their own, but the resulting penalty corner was saved by Surbiton goalkeeper Harry Gibson with the whistle sounding shortly afterwards to keep Surbiton at the top of the table.
Holcombe beat Kent rivals Sevenoaks 3-2 in the night’s other Premier Division match. On Sunday, Canterbury host Brooklands Manchester University, Beeston are at home to Reading and East Grinstead play their rearranged match against Holcombe. The original fixture on the opening day was postponed due to a combination of water and lighting issues.
Surbiton travel to Wimbledon next Sunday (15 October) in a rematch of last season’s MHL Championship Final which Surbiton won on a shootout after coming back from 3-0 down. The push back is at 2 pm. Last season all three matches ended in draws.