Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 2 March 2019
READING 1–5 SURBITON
Scorers: Alan Forsyth 25-F, 55-PC; Ben Boon 33-F, James Royce 44-PC, Hayden Beltz 63-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Tom Sorsby, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), Zach Wallace, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Hayden Beltz, Nicholas Parkes, James Gall.
Subs: Ben Boon (5 mins), Scott Evans (6), Lewis Prosser (7), James Royce (7), Tim Atkins (9).
Umpires: Martin Twist and Nick White
Match Official: Ray Strudwick
Surbiton Men joined Hampstead and Westminster as the first two qualifiers for the end of season playoffs following their convincing 5-1 win at Reading. Hampstead won 7-2 at Holcombe to seal their place.
Surbiton had their international players back from the FIH Pro League, Alan Forsyth going close in the second minute and Zach Wallace being tackled by Reading’s Jack Clee.
Reading also went close before both teams went through a brief period of scrappy play where neither side could keep possession for long.
Luke Taylor had forced a save from Chris Wyver from Surbiton’s first penalty corner in the fourth minute, but after 24 minutes of no goals, just like buses two goals came almost at once.
Forsyth put Surbiton ahead in the 25th minute from open play, but Lee Morton, Reading’s leading goalscorer equalised within seconds to make the score 1-1.
Surbiton led 2-1 at half time thanks to a short Hayden Beltz pass for Ben Boon to poke home two minutes before the interval.
Surbiton came into their own in the second half, James Royce extending the visitors’ lead to 3-1 with a clinical penalty corner conversion in the 44th minute. Forsyth then scored his second goal of the game and 22nd league goal of the season by finishing off a well manoeuvred penalty corner routine in the 55th minute.
With seven minutes to play, Forsyth crossed from the left for Beltz to tap in and complete another comprehensive away victory.
Reading finally forced a penalty corner with three minutes remaining but shot past the left post as their playoff hopes began to fade.
Hampstead reduced Surbiton’s goal difference advantage to eight with their professional victory at Holcombe Park. Beeston lost further ground and now trail the top two by ten points after East Grinstead won 3-2 in Nottingham. East Grinstead have a four point cushion in fourth place over Holcombe.
Brooklands Manchester University missed the chance to leapfrog Holcombe into fifth, going down 3-1 at home to the University of Exeter. The Devon club now has a massive eight point lead over bottom club Sevenoaks, who seem likely to be relegated after two seasons in the top flight. Wimbledon staved off the threat of the Promotion Tournament with a 6-0 win at Sevenoaks.
Next Saturday, Surbiton host Brooklands at Sugden Road in Part Two of the men’s/ women’s doubleheader with the men’s match at 6 pm after Surbiton Ladies face Canterbury at 4 pm.