Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 22 September 2018

SURBITON 31 WIMBLEDON

Scorers: Alan Forsyth 8-F, 29-F; Tim Atkins 16-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonny Gall (Capt.), Zach Wallace, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, Sam Spencer,

Subs: David Goodfield (5″), James Gall (6″), Conor Williamson (6″), Willie Marshall (8″), Luke Taylor (10″).

Umpires: Sean Edwards and Nick Padget

Match Official: Debbie Garner

Surbiton Men beat Wimbledon on home turf in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division for the first time after a dominant first half performance set them on their way to an historic 3-1 win at a rainy Sugden Road on Saturday evening.

In front of a large crowd on opening night a mixture of brilliant skill and indiscipline resulting in the teams sharing four yellow cards ensured the traditional recipe of excitement and tension cooked up yet another enthralling London derby.

Surbiton gave debuts to four players, Scottish international Tim Atkins, youngster Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon and James Royce, returning to Surbiton after spells in Perth, Australia; the University of Exeter and Reading.

The hosts just needed eight minutes to break the deadlock, Alan Forsyth’s superb finish giving Surbiton the lead. In the 16th minute it was Atkins’ turn to celebrate after scoring on his debut to double Surbiton’s lead.

If Forsyth’s first goal was superb, his second in the 29th minute was sublime, a shot from the left of the circle nestling in the top-centre netting to leave Wimbledon trailing 3-0 at half time.

A hint of the tension to come was given in the 21st minute when Surbiton’s captain, Jonny Gall and Wimbledon’s Ed Horler both spent five minutes on the naughty step after a clash on the pitch. In the second half, Gall was shown a second yellow in the 49th minute, five minutes after Wimbledon’s Michael Hoare suffered the same fate.

By the time Hoare was banished, Wimbledon had fought their way back into the match, Ben Arnold finally beating Surbiton goalkeeper, Harry Gibson from open play, to the delight of the visiting supporters to reduce the deficit to 3-1. Gibson had made an excellent save from a first half penalty corner with the visitors also left to rue a mistrapped injection in the second half which prevented them from potentially reducing the deficit to one goal.

Atkins and Luke Taylor were denied by Wimbledon goalkeeper, James Bailey from second half Surbiton penalty corners, but in spite of both teams’ attacking intent, there was no further scoring and Surbiton began their quest for a hat-trick of league titles with a home victory over their nearest rivals.

Surbiton are next at home to newly promoted University of Exeter next Saturday (29 September) at 6 pm. Exeter host East Grinstead on Sunday. In the only other Premier Division game on Saturday, Hampstead and Westminster, last season’s Championships final runners-up, began their campaign with a 2-1 win at Reading.