Men’s Hockey League Premier Division Sat 23 September
CANTERBURY 2–6 SURBITON
Scorers: Alan Forsyth 3-PS, 37-F, 63-F; Luke Taylor 6-PC, Dave Beckett 11-F, Lewis Prosser 39-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK), Luke Taylor, Lewis Prosser, Jonny Gall, Chris Grassick (Capt.), Dave Beckett, Zach Wallace, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, James Gall.
Subs: Arjan Drayton Chana 4″, Rob Farrington 5″, William Marshall 6″, Nicholas Parkes 6″, Sam Spencer 14″
Umpires: Nick Padget and Martin Twist
Surbiton Men began their defence of the Men’s Hockey League Championships title with a convincing 6-2 win at Canterbury on Saturday evening.
Luke Taylor and Sam Spencer made their league debuts for Surbiton with James Gall returning to join brother Jonny in the starting line-up.
The game got off to an unfortunate start in the second minute when James Gall was bundled over by James Oates, who spent the next two minutes in the sin-bin.
A minute later, Surbiton took full advantage, Alan Forsyth giving the visitors the lead from the penalty spot.
In the sixth minute, Luke Taylor scored on his debut converting Surbiton’s first penalty corner of the game in fine style. And when in the eleventh minute, Dave Beckett finished from short range, Surbiton were well in control holding a 3-0 lead on a ground where they had led four times last season and been held to a 4-4 draw.
Unfortunately, Beckett’s game was cut short in the 14th minute when he had to be helped off the pitch with a leg injury. The injury was especially disappointing as in last season’s opening match at Holcombe, Beckett was injured in the warm-up and took no part in the game.
Having raced into a three goal lead, Surbiton still led 3-0 at the interval, with Canterbury having gone close to pulling a goal back on a couple of occasions, especially from their only penalty corner of the game when they were denied by a superb save by Surbiton goalkeeper, Harry Gibson.
Early in the second half, Surbiton once more stunned the hosts with two quick fire goals. Forsyth scored Surbiton’s fourth goal in the 37th minute with captain, Lewis Prosser adding a fifth goal two minutes later.
Canterbury, to their credit fought back, Craig Boyne opening the hosts’ account in the 50th minute from the penalty spot, from the fifth penalty award of the day across the two first team matches.
Six minutes later, new signing Michal Nowakowski brought Canterbury closer, converting a penalty corner with a shot into the right side netting.
Any hopes of a Canterbury comeback were ended with seven minutes to play, Forsyth clinching his first hat-trick of the season as Surbiton showed that they mean to defend their league title this season.
Elsewhere, East Grinstead’s home opener with Holcombe was postponed. Hampstead and Westminster beat Brooklands Manchester University 4-2, with Beeston drawing 1-1 with Wimbledon.
Sevenoaks’ first ever match in the top flight ended in defeat, Reading spoiling the Kent club’s party with a 4-1 win.
Sevenoaks visit Sugden Road next Saturday (30 September) as part two of the Big Event, following Surbiton Ladies’ league clash with Clifton Robinsons. Entry to the Sevenoaks game is £5.