23 April 2017 Men’s Hockey League Championships Final

SURBITON  33 WIMBLEDON (Surbiton win 3-2 on shuffles)

Scorers: Forsyth 52-PC, Furlong 56-PC, 59-PC
Squad: Gibson (GK); Creed, Prosser (Capt.), Goodfield, Gall, Beckett, Marshall, Wallace, Drayton-Chana, Forsyth, Noblett. Subs: Parkes (5′), Hildreth (7′), Furlong (8′), Bartram (17′), Farrington (17′). Subs not used: Taylor-Green (GK), Males.

Umpires: Dan Barstow and Paul Walker

Surbiton Men won the Men’s Hockey League Championship Final for the first time since the playoff format was introduced, coming for 3-0 down with just eight minutes left to draw 3-3 with Wimbledon in normal time and then triumph thanks to a 3-2 shootout win.

With ten minutes remaining, Wimbledon seemed to be on course for a hat-trick of league championships. Phil Ball had turned in Phil Roper’s cross in the ninth minute to give the reigning champions a 1-0 half time lead.

Henry Weir doubled the lead four minutes after the interval from a penalty corner with Simon Mantell finishing after Johnny Kinder had pounced on a Surbiton turnover in the 50th minute.

But just as in the final league game of the season, Surbiton came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in normal time. All three goals came from penalty corners, Alan Forsyth finishing off a set-piece with eight minutes left, before Gareth Furlong found the backboard four minutes later.

Surbiton took off goalkeeper, Harry Gibson with 112 seconds remaining and returned him to the pitch 46 seconds later, Luke Noblett’s stint as kicking back rewarded as Furlong struck for a second time in the penultimate minute.

In the shootout, Wimbledon went first, Ian Sloan forcing a save from Gibson before firing past the left post. Surbiton captain, Lewis Prosser was prevented from shooting as the score remained goalless after each team’s first attempt.

Steven Ebbers was thwarted by Gibson before Forsyth broke the deadlock from Surbiton’s second attempt.

Phil Roper levelled from Wimbledon’s third attempt, James Bailey preventing Surbiton maintaining the lead by deflecting David Goodfield’s shot over the back-line.

The momentum switched towards Wimbledon when Simon Mantell gave them a 2-1 lead from their fourth attempt. Noblett levelled matters leaving all to play for at 2-2 with one attempt each scheduled before sudden death.

Sudden death was not needed as Phil Ball failed to shoot from Wimbledon’s final attempt, setting up David Beckett to be Surbiton’s hero as he found the backboard to trigger a team rush to celebrate Surbiton’s league win.

Surbiton have now completed the outdoor/ indoor league double after lifting the Super Sixes Championship trophy at the SSE Arena in Wembley at the end of January. They should qualify automatically for the Euro Hockey League KO16 stage next season as England’s top ranked team.