M1 Face Hampstead & W On Saturday
By Colin Pike
On what was originally intended to be their bye week, Surbiton host Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday evening at Sugden Road (push back 5 pm)
Surbiton were originally due to meet Hampstead in October, but both teams were competing in the EuroHockey League in Brasschat, Belgium meaning the fixture had to be postponed.
Surbiton have a one hundred per cent record after winning their first seven games, but having been in fine goalscoring form over the last few weeks with nine goals against Brooklands Manchester University, seven goals against the University of Exeter and another five away to Beeston last Sunday, Surbiton face the second, third and fourth placed teams before the mid-season break.
First up are Hampstead & Westminster, who amazingly, having played Surbiton since the 2001-02 season in the top flight, have never won at Sugden Road.
The last meeting at Sugden Road was a goalfest with Surbiton winning 8-4 in November 2019, followed by a quieter 1-1 draw at Paddington Recreation Ground, the following February.
There have been three draws with Surbiton winning 16 meetings on home soil.
This season, Hampstead won their first three games before stuttering to two successive 2-2 draws at Beeston and home to Holcombe and coming down to earth with a bump last weekend as Old Georgians won 5-0 at Paddington Recreation Ground.
Hampstead had won 3-2 at Wimbledon; 4-2 at home to East Grinstead and mounted a fourth quarter comeback to beat the University of Exeter 4-3 in London and have lost contact with the top three, although they do have games in hand.
Next weekend, Hampstead are due to travel to Brooklands Manchester University for another rearranged league game, this time due to travel issues on the original date.
Once again, Matt Guise-Brown is Hampstead's leading goalscorer with eight goals, former Surbiton player Rupert Shipperley has two along with Matt Ramshaw and another former Surbiton player, Will Calnan, Toby Roche and Sam French have also found the net this season.
Surbiton will have a double penalty corner threat with Luke Taylor leading the division's goalscorer charts with 13 goals (including four penalty strokes) and Gareth Furlong who rattled Beeston's crossbar last weekend.
Wimbledon are also home on Saturday evening when they host Brooklands Manchester University with Hampstead having their second game of the weekend on Sunday afternoon when the University of Durham visit Paddington Recreation Ground.
Holcombe are at home to Beeston on Sunday as are Old Georgians to Oxted (perhaps with dreams of another 10-6 home win) and East Grinstead make the long trip to the University of Exeter.