Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 24 February 2019
SURBITON 4–1 HOLCOMBE
Scorers: Arjan Drayton Chana 25-F, 37-PS; David Goodfield 56-PC, Hayden Beltz 62-PC
Squad: Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), Arjan Drayton Chana, James Royce, David Goodfield, Sam Spencer, Nicholas Parkes, Taylor Seager-Green (GK).
Subs: Hayden Beltz (4 mins), Conor Williamson (5), Scott Evans (5), William Marshall (7), Charlie Neat (32).
Umpires: Lee Barron and Dave Dowdall
Match Official: Janet Sutton
Surbiton Men are still top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, but their superior goal difference advantage was reduced to nine after Surbiton beat Holcombe 4-1 at Sugden Road and second placed Hampstead & Westminster beat Sevenoaks 8-1 on Sunday
On Old Members Day, Surbiton made further use of their youth policy by giving a first team debut to Charlie Neat.
Holcombe arrived in Elmbridge on the back of a 2-0 defeat at East Grinstead the previous day, but tried to improve on their lightning start in the first meeting at Holcombe Park when Nick Bandurak scored after just 34 seconds. The Surbiton defence faced their first threat after just 18 seconds in the return fixture as the ball sped from the right of the circle past the left post.
Both teams took time to settle down, with Bandurak getting tangled up with Surbiton captain Jonny Gall in a midfield clash. Holcombe’s captain, Martin Robbins and Louis Duprez defended well after being put under pressure by Surbiton’s Ben Boon, who was also thwarted by the visiting goalkeeper, Richard Curtis when trying to turn in a cross from the right.
Arjan Drayton Chana caused problems with a run before being stopped by Holcombe’s Alex Moen and Surbiton’s Tom Sorsby set up a scoring chance for Nick Parkes which was deflected past the left post.
The pressure told in the 25th minute when Drayton Chana and Parkes played a delightful one-two move which ended with Drayton Chana putting away an angled shot from the left of the circle, perfectly placed just inside the corner of crossbar and right post.
Drayton Chana struck again two minutes after half time when Hayden Beltz was brought down in the circle, resulting in the award of a penalty stroke. Just as against East Grinstead the previous weekend, the stroke was perfectly slotted, this time past Curtis to double Surbiton’s lead.
Surbiton seemed to be cruising, but Holcombe gave them a wake up call in the 49th minute when Conor Caplan reduced the deficit from open play to end a barren run of 244 minutes since Holcombe had last scored a league goal, Daniel Webster having scored at home to Wimbledon on 25 November. N.B. The goal was originally credited to Anton Parente Varela but has officially been amended.
Two penalty corner conversions in six minutes effectively closed out the game for Surbiton, David Goodfield finishing off a manoeuvred routine in the 56th minute and Beltz clinically converting in the 62nd minute.
Neat gained some useful experience when attacking within the Holcombe 23 and was far from overawed on his league debut.
Matt Guise Brown scored four goals and Chris Cargo notched a brace in Hampstead’s 8-1 win over Sevenoaks. Third placed Beeston dropped to seven points behind the top two, drawing 3-3 at the University of Exeter in spite of leading three times. East Grinstead are a further five points back as Brooklands Manchester University won 2-0 in West Sussex to close the gap to one point behind Holcombe.
Exeter’s draw enabled them to pull five points clear of bottom club Sevenoaks and with five games to go, the likelihood is that Sevenoaks will be relegated and Exeter will be in the Promotion Tournament, although Wimbledon are still in the mix, holding just a two point advantage over Exeter. Reading, seven points ahead of Wimbledon, look to be out of any danger.
Reading are Surbiton’s opponents next Saturday at Sonning Lane, push back 6.30 pm.