Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 10 February 2019
UNIVERSITY OF EXETER 1–4 SURBITON
Scorers: Scott Evans 12-F, Arjan Drayton-Chana 22-F, 61-F; Tom Sorsby 63-F
Squad: Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), David Beckett, William Marshall, James Royce, David Goodfield, Nicholas Parkes, Taylor Seager-Green (GK).
Subs: Arjan Drayton-Chana (4 mins), Conor Williamson (6), Scott Evans (7), Rory Calnan (7).
Umpires: Ady Green and Andy Higgins
Match Official: Paul Earnshaw
Surbiton Men survived an early scare to beat the University of Exeter 4-1 and stay locked together with Hampstead and Westminster at the top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, Surbiton leading with a fifteen goal superior goal difference.
Hampstead won 1-0 at Wimbledon thanks to Matt Guise Brown’s second half penalty corner conversion, whilst Beeston lost ground, drawing 1-1 at home to Brooklands Manchester University.
On a sunny day in Devon, but with a bitter wind chill to be factored in, Exeter wanted to start 2019 in style and succeeded, taking the lead in the fourth minute through George Carson.
Ben Cooke forced a fine save from Surbiton goalkeeper, Taylor Seager-Green in the ninth minute, but Surbiton levelled three minutes later, Scott Evans smashing the ball against the backboard after Arjan Drayton-Chana attacked down the left.
In the 22nd minute, Drayton-Chana gave Surbiton a 2-1 lead with a deft touch past Exeter goalkeeper, Elliot Bullman to end a sequence of the last three meetings ending in 1-1 draws.
A minute later, Nick Parkes had a shot saved by Bullman as Surbiton tried to extend their lead.
Exeter came close to equalising three minutes before half time, James Carson having a shot saved before Archie Winter shot wide.
Exeter stayed in contention for most of the second half in spite of Surbiton having more possession, thanks to Bullman who made a superb double save from Ben Boon and Parkes in the 51st minute.
Sam Hooper was denied in both of Exeter’s penalty corner awards in the match while former Exeter player, James Royce struggled to convert from Surbiton’s awards.
Surbiton killed the game off with two quick goals in the last ten minutes, David Goodfield evading Bullman on the right of the circle before crossing the ball for Drayton-Chana to score his second goal of the match in the 61st minute.
Two minutes later, Tom Sorsby added a fourth goal to secure what turned out to be a convincing victory in the end, but was in doubt until Surbiton led 3-1.
Towards the end of the game there was a brief shower which had been threatening for a while, but it couldn’t dampen Surbiton’s spirits and Exeter should also find positives from their performance to take into next weekend’s key visit to Sevenoaks.
Beeston’s draw leaves them five points behind the top two teams and they could be overtaken by Holcombe if they win their match in hand against East Grinstead, postponed due to to East Grinstead’s participation in Croatia, where they failed to win promotion to the top flight Cup competition for next season after finishing fourth in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy.
Sevenoaks remain in the basement following their 3-2 defeat at Reading.
Surbiton face East Grinstead next Saturday (push back 6 pm) following Surbiton Ladies match against the West Sussex club at 4 pm.