Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 24 March 2019

SURBITON 81 SEVENOAKS

Scorers: Arjan Drayton Chana 10-F, Alan Forsyth 15-F, 58-F, 68-PS; William Marshall 50-F, 56-F; Tom Sorsby 52-F, Sam Spencer 55-F

Squad: Lewis Prosser, Ben Boon, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), Zach Wallace, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Hayden Beltz, Sam Spencer, Nicholas Parkes, James Gall, Taylor Seager-Green (GK)

Subs: Arjan Drayton Chana (4 mins), Tom Sorsby (6), Dave Beckett (6), Conor Williamson (7), William Marshall (9).

Umpires: Daran Cass and Nick Padget

Match Official: Richard Chere

 

Surbiton Men will finish top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division for the first time in their history after beating Sevenoaks 8-1 in their penultimate league match of the season at Sugden Road on Sunday afternoon.

Surbiton made history in style, scoring six goals in the second half to make up for the disappointment of having previously finished as runners-up seven times.

Sevenoaks’ relegation from the Premier Division had been confirmed the week before following a 6-4 defeat at Brooklands Manchester University, but Surbiton dominated with flowing attacking hockey from the start.

Sevenoaks’ Craig Morton had to defend Surbiton’s first attack in the first 30 seconds as Surbiton began to play entertaining hockey. Andrew Ross attacked down the right early in the game from what proved to be a rare attack for the visitors, as Surbiton were unlucky not to score in the first six minutes from Ben Boon and Alan Forsyth with shots wide of the right post.

In the tenth minute, Arjan Drayton Chana gave Surbiton the lead, running from the left before slipping his shot past Richard Potton in the Sevenoaks goal.

Two minutes later, Sevenoaks had the chance to score from their first penalty corner but the shot was blocked. 

On the quarter-hour, the ball was pulled back for Alan Forsyth to score from the edge of the circle and double Surbiton’s advantage.

2-0 remained the score at half time, but Surbiton couldn’t be faulted for their attacking effort with Boon forcing a save; Dave Beckett setting up a chance for Conor Williamson which again was saved; Drayton Chana sliding in to send the ball agonisingly past the right post; Forsyth diving to send the ball past the left post and William Marshall also having an effort saved as Potton battled to keep Surbiton’s forwards out.

Surbiton had to wait until early in the second half for their first penalty corner, only for James Royce’s shot to be blocked and then from their second award, Royce’s shot was deflected past the right post.

The floodgates opened in the 50th minute when Marshall’s emphatic finish put Surbiton three goals ahead, the goal celebrated with both arms in the air.

Two minutes later, it was Tom Sorsby’s turn to celebrate, running away from goal in delight at notching Surbiton’s fourth goal of the match following a run from the right.

In the 55th minute, Sam Spencer scored Surbiton’s fifth goal, closely followed a minute later by another quality finish by Marshall as Sevenoaks were hit for six.

Forsyth scored Surbiton’s seventh goal in the 58th minute with a shot which rippled the netting just above the backboard as the Sevenoaks defence was torn to shreds.

Five minutes from time, Sevenoaks won a penalty corner, Andrew Ross firing the ball into the top left corner, Surbiton having taken off goalkeeper, Taylor Seager-Green as an experiment.

Forsyth had the final word, slotting a penalty stroke against the backboard in the 68th minute with his 28th goal of the season.

The win kept Surbiton six points ahead of Hampstead & Westminster with just one game remaining. Hampstead beat East Grinstead 2-1 with a last minute goal. Third placed Beeston have also booked their place in the playoffs in spite of losing 3-0 at home to Wimbledon.

The race for the fourth and final place will go to the final day, with East Grinstead holding off Holcombe on goals scored and Reading on goal difference. East Grinstead are at home to the University of Exeter whilst Holcombe travel to Reading.

For the second week running, Holcombe missed the chance to move into the playoff places, being held to a 1-1 home draw by Brooklands Manchester University. Reading won 5-2 at the University of Exeter.

Next Sunday, when all the games start at 2 pm as it’s the final day of the season, Surbiton visit Wimbledon. Wimbledon’s recent run may just have come too late for them to snatch a playoff place, but they have won their last five games without conceding a goal – a run of 377 minutes.