Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 11 February 2018

SURBITON 70 CANTERBURY

Scorers: Alan Forsyth 11-F, 50-F, 55-PC; David Goodfield 43-F, 54-F; Chris Grassick 66-F, 67-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Lewis Prosser, Jonny Gall, Willie Marshall, Alan Forsyth, David Goodfield, Adam Buckle, Sam Spencer, Nick Parkes, James Gall.

Subs: Chris Grassick (7″), Arjan Drayton Chana (8″), Zach Wallace (8″), Gareth Furlong (11″), Dave Bartram (57″)

Umpires: Mike Davidson and Mark Everard

Match Official: Derek Rutherford

Surbiton Men extended their lead at the top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division to seven points after beating Canterbury 7-0 in a match which literally was a game of two halves, interrupted by a heavy half time hailstorm.

At half time, Surbiton led 1-0, the only goal of the first half coming from open play after Sam Spencer’s run down the left wing was followed by interplay in the circle which propelled the ball towards Alan Forsyth, who made no mistake in finding the backboard in the eleventh minute.

After both teams left the pitch at half time and with the sky darkening, suddenly hailstones rained down on Sugden Road, leaving both pitches in a white coating.

Following a couple of experiments, spectators were allowed on the water based pitch to help thaw the hailstones, but the unexpected interruption delayed the restart until 3.30 pm.

After a second warmup, the game resumed, David Goodfield finishing brilliantly to double Surbiton’s lead from open play, although there was brief concern for Arjan Drayton Chana, who had fallen to the ground during the attack.

Forsyth then scored Surbiton’s third goal with a shot from the left of the circle which rippled the netting in the far right corner of the goal just above the board.

The Forsyth-Goodfield sequence then continued when Goodfield’s reverse stick finish put Surbiton in command with a 4-0 lead.

Forsyth’s hat-trick came from Surbiton’s fourth penalty corner, ironically after the injection was initially mistrapped. The ball was recovered so well that another trademark Forsyth finish warmed up the crowd who were watching in bitterly cold temperatures exaggerated by a gusting wind.

It was then Chris Grassick’s turn to get in to the scoring act with two quick goals. The first saw the ball trickle across the goal-line to the Canterbury defence’s frustration, followed by a strike from the centre of the circle to complete a convincing 7-0 win.

Surbiton have 32 points from 13 games, with Beeston, 2-1 losers at Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon, on 25 points from 12 games. Reading, 6-0 winners of Sevenoaks on Saturday evening are third on 24 points, with East Grinstead fourth and Wimbledon fifth.

Sunday’s other game saw Hampstead & Westminster win 5-3 at Brooklands Manchester University.

Surbiton head to Wettingen in Switzerland to compete in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup next weekend. Their next outdoor league match is at Reading on 24 February (6.30 pm push back).