Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 3 March 2018


Scorers: Alan Forsyth 59-PS, Gareth Furlong 62-PC, 67-PC
Squad: Luke Taylor, Jonny Gall, Chris Grassick (Capt.), Arjan Drayton-Chana, Willie Marshall, Zach Wallace, Alan Forsyth, Adam Buckle, Sam Spencer, Nick Parkes, Taylor Seager-Green (GK)

Subs: Lewis Prosser (6″), Dave Bartram (7″), Conor Williamson (9″), Gareth Furlong (11″).

Umpires: Nick Padget and Martin Twist

Match Official: Thea Hitchcock

With four games to play, Surbiton Men’s lead at the top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division has been cut to one point after a 4-3 home defeat by Holcombe. Holcombe led 4-0 after 52 minutes, but a fightback which saw Surbiton score three goals in eight minutes wasn’t quite enough to salvage at least a point.

Surbiton were back in action after their match at Reading was postponed last weekend, but on Saturday night, the Sugden Road pitch was never under any serious threat of turning icy when only Surbiton and Timperley were hosting national league matches.

Holcombe took the lead in the seventh minute, Harry Trusler finding the backboard from open play. Six minutes before half time, Holcombe were awarded a penalty stroke which Nick Bandurak slotted home to Surbiton goalkeeper, Taylor Seager-Green’s right to ensure that the visitors went in to half time 2-0 ahead.

In the second half, Holcombe strengthened their case for a Championship playoff place, Matthew Rees-Gibbs extending Holcombe’s lead to 3-0 in the 47th minute and Robert Field adding a fourth goal five minutes later to leave the league leaders with a lot of work to do.

Trailing 4-0, Surbiton fought back starting in the 59th minute when Arjan Drayton-Chana was fouled resulting in a penalty stroke being awarded. Holcombe’s Alistair Bray was shown a yellow card whilst Alan Forsyth calmly scored from the spot to give the Surbiton supporters hope. Drayton-Chana, having writhed in agony behind the backline, managed to walk slowly off the pitch after some treatment.

With eight minutes to play and Surbiton trailing 4-1, there was a chance that there could be a repeat of the comeback in last season’s Championship Final when Surbiton came from 3-0 down late to draw 3-3 with Wimbledon and win the trophy on a shootout.

Although there was no shootout on offer against Holcombe, it was penalty corner hero, Gareth Furlong who came close to repeating his Lee Valley heroics with a perfect drag-flick in the 62nd minute. Five minutes later, Furlong was again on target to give Holcombe something to worry about as Surbiton trailed 4-3 with time remaining.

Unfortunately, this time the hat-trick opportunity was not to avail itself as Holcombe survived the last three minutes to complete a victory which keeps alive their hopes of finishing in the top four and another visit to Lee Vallley in April.

A rearranged date is yet to be confirmed for Surbiton’s visit to Reading, but the league champions will be featuring in a London derby when they visit Hampstead & Westminster on 11 March (push back 1.30 pm).