M1 Start League Campaign at Reading on Saturday
Surbiton Men, runners-up to Hampstead & Westminster in last season’s Men’s Hockey League Championship final, start their Premier Division campaign at Reading on Saturday night (push back 6.30 pm).
In 2018-19, Reading just missed out on a play-off place on goal difference to East Grinstead, whilst Surbiton, in spite of finishing six points ahead of Hampstead & Westminster at the end of the regular season, missed out on a hat-trick of national league titles.
Reading have lost Lee Morton, Matt Richards and Liam Sanford to newly promoted Old Georgians, but have signed Andrew Oxburgh from Sevenoaks following the Kent club’s relegation to Division One South and Adam Price from Wimbledon.
Surbiton have signed Jonty Griffiths from Wimbledon and Rob Farrington has returned to the club from Mannheimer with Ore Ogunlana coming back to Surbiton after spells at the University of Durham and East Grinstead and Jack Tranter has joined from Beeston. Young goalkeeper Taylor Seager-Green has joined the University of Exeter alongside Max Lowrey and Lewis Prosser has joined East Grinstead.
When the teams met last season, Surbiton had the upper hand in both matches. In October, Surbiton won 6-2 at Sugden Road, Arjan Drayton-Chana’s 11th minute opener quickly cancelled out by Morton. Scott Evans restored Surbiton’s lead in the 34th minute, only for Charlie Ellison to score a second equaliser for the visitors. Surbiton then pulled away with Alan Forsyth and James Royce scoring in the 52nd and 54th minutes followed by Ben Boon’s brace in the 55th and 69th minutes.
The return match at Sonning Lane in March was also one way traffic although the teams were level at 1-1 after Forsyth and Morton exchanged goals in the 25th minute. Boon gave Surbiton a 2-1 half time lead with a goal two minutes before the interval. Royce doubled the lead in the 44th minute, Forsyth adding Surbiton’s fourth goal in the 55th minute with Hayden Beltz completing the scoring seven minutes from time.
Elsewhere in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, Hampstead start their title defence at Beeston; Wimbledon make the long trip to Brooklands Manchester University; Holcombe host East Grinstead in the second game of a double header and newly promoted Old Georgians are at home to the University of Exeter.