After spending last weekend in Switzerland representing England in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup, Surbiton Men return to outdoor hockey when they visit Reading for a Men’s Hockey League Premier Division clash on Saturday (push back 6.30 pm).
The match will be played at Sonning Lane, Reading RG4 6ST.
While they were in Switzerland, Beeston cut Surbiton’s lead at the top of the table to four points following their convincing 5-2 win at East Grinstead. Reading are in third, eight points behind Surbiton and can’t afford to drop points with six teams effectively battling for the four playoff spots, with seventh placed Holcombe also still in contention in spite of being eight points adrift of fourth place.
Reading began the season with a 4-1 win at Sevenoaks, which was followed up by a 5-0 home win over Canterbury. A trip to Nottingham to play Beeston saw Reading come back pointless after a 3-1 defeat, and a 2-1 home defeat to Holcombe saw the Berkshire club’s progress stutter.
However, 3-2 wins at home to Wimbledon and at Brooklands Manchester University gave them further impetus before they suffered a 3-2 defeat at home to Hampstead & Westminster and a 5-3 defeat at Surbiton
Reading ended 2017 in form with a 6-1 hammering of East Grinstead and a 4-3 thriller win at Holcombe.
That form continued as 2018 dawned with a 5-0 win at Canterbury and a 6-0 win over Sevenoaks, before they were pegged back at Hampstead & Westminster last week with a 2-1 defeat.
Reading have scored 44 goals this season with Ben Boon leading the way with ten goals. Richard Mantell has supported with six goals, four from penalty corners and two from the penalty spot. Lee Morton and Tom Carson have both contributed four goals; Edward Carson, James Carson and Ben Francis are all on three; with Dale Hutchinson, Stuart Loughrey and Duncan Riddell each scoring twice.
With Nick Park, Owain Dolan Gray, Kiran Patel, Tim Atkins and Dan Shingles also having found the net this season, Reading are not short of attacking options.
The game at Sonning Lane is the only game scheduled for Saturday. On Sunday, Beeston are at home to Canterbury and Brooklands Manchester University host Sevenoaks in what should prove to be a key match in the battle against relegation. Holcombe take on Hampstead & Westminster and East Grinstead visit Wimbledon in two matches which may help to clarify the playoff race picture.