Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 14 October 2018

BROOKLANDS MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY 27 SURBITON

Scorers: Alan Forsyth 4-F, 35-PC, 36-F; James Royce 24-F, 42-F; Ben Boon 53-F, 66-F
Squad: Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonny Gall (Capt.), James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Sam Spencer, Nick Parkes, Mark Haycroft (GK), Rory Calnan.

Subs: Willie Marshall (7 mins), Harry Gough (7), Conor Williamson (7), Scott Evans (8)

Umpires: Lee Barron and Dave Dowdall

Match Official: Christine O’Donovan

Surbiton Men kept up the pressure on Hampstead & Westminster and Holcombe, putting in a clinical performance to storm to a 7-2 win at a damp Brooklands Manchester University.

The last two Men’s Hockey League Premier Division matches between the teams in Sale had ended in thrilling 3-3 draws, but a Brooklands side which had earned its first point of the season at Sevenoaks a week before, struggled to cope with Surbiton’s attacking play which was even more effective than in the 4-0 victory at East Grinstead.

The victory was even more meritorious as Surbiton took a 15 player squad to Cheshire, and began in the same way as they had in West Sussex, taking the lead in the fourth minute. Good build up play put Alan Forsyth in position to put the visitors ahead.

The margin of victory wasn’t immediately apparent as Brooklands initially threatened the Surbiton goal having shots blocked and having shots saved by goalkeeper, Mark Haycroft.

However, Surbiton came close to leading 3-0 by the quarter hour, Ben Boon being forced wide by Brooklands goalkeeper Robert Turner when in a one on one situation and Sam Spencer unluckily hitting the right post when trying to double Surbiton’s lead.

The second goal came in the 24th minute when James Royce found the backboard to the frustration of the Brooklands supporters.

Five minutes later, Brooklands reduced the arrears, Haycroft finally beaten as Dan Vincent converted Brooklands’ third penalty corner.

Surbiton had to wait until added on time at the end of the first half for their first penalty corner award, with Royce’s shot touched in by Forsyth to establish a comfortable 3-1 half time lead.

Just 36 seconds into the second half, Forsyth competed his hat-trick, taking full advantage of a Brooklands turnover to run towards goal and slip the ball past Turner for Surbiton’s fourth goal.

Six minutes later, it was Royce’s turn to score his second goal of the match with another clinical finish to leave Brooklands trailing 5-1.

In the 53rd minute, Boon scored his first goal in a Surbiton shirt, rotating into position in the circle before burying the ball into goal to extend the lead to 6-1.

With four minutes to play, Boon added a seventh goal with a finish from the right of the circle as Surbiton were on course for their joint biggest win at Brooklands, matching a 7-1 win in October 2014.

With two minutes to play, Richard Slater scored a second consolation goal for Brooklands, but couldn’t prevent Surbiton from showing why they won’t give up their league crown without a fight.

Once again, Surbiton’s youngsters were key with Rory Calnan deservedly earning a place in the starting lineup on only his second appearance, Harry Gough proving to be a dangerous threat down the right wing and Conor Williamson yet again showing how much he has learned as part of the first team squad.

Surbiton remained third, two points behind Holcombe, 2-0 winners at Wimbledon, who stay bottom but have a game in hand over their rivals due to their participation in the Euro Hockey League; and Hampstead & Westminster, 2-0 winners at Sevenoaks.

Beeston are just a point behind Surbiton following their 3-0 home win over the University of Exeter; and Reading are fifth and East Grinstead sixth after Reading beat East Grinstead 3-1 on Saturday night.

Surbiton host Reading next Saturday night (20 October) with a 5.30 pm push back.