M1 At Home To Wimbledon On Sat. Evening
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men host Wimbledon at Sugden Road on Saturday (push back 5.30 pm) knowing that they need to win if they are going to keep their European qualification hopes alive.
Wimbledon come to Elmbridge with a five point advantage over Surbiton with just two matches remaining. A Surbiton victory would close the gap to two points with the runners-up to be decided on the final day of the season (23 April) when Surbiton travel to Hampstead & Westminster and Wimbledon make a return trip to Elmbridge, but to Old Georgians.
A point would be enough for Wimbledon to clinch their place in Europe and both previous meetings have ended in draws with the visitors pegged back late in both games.
Wimbledon were heading for a 2-0 victory at Sugden Road thanks to Sam Hooper and Ronan Harvey-Kelly before Luke Taylor struck twice in the last four minutes.
And in the return fixture at Raynes Park High School on 12 March, Surbiton led 5-2 before a David Condon brace and an Ed Horler goal in the penultimate minute salvaged a thrilling 5-5 draw.
Horler is battling with Hampstead & Westminster's Matt Guise-Brown and Surbiton's Taylor to finish as the division's top goalscorer. Taylor is on 20 with Guise-Brown and Horler on 19 and Old Georgians' Sam Ward, who would probably be leading the way if not for injury this season, not far behind on 17.
Wimbledon followed up the draw with Surbiton with three straight wins: 5-1 versus Hampstead, 6-1 at East Grinstead and 5-1 against Holcombe. Added to the 5-5 draw and the preceding 4-1 win at Hampstead, Wimbledon have scored 25 goals in their last five matches.
Surbiton haven't exactly been goal-shy either, beating Holcombe 7-1 last weekend, holding Old Georgians to a 2-2 draw on their own pitch and beating East Grinstead 9-1 in their last three games since the draw at Wimbledon, so another goal-fest could be on the cards.
Hampstead and Holcombe are now battling for fourth place with East Grinstead guaranteed to finish sixth. Hampstead are at home to East Grinstead on Saturday evening and Holcombe host Old Georgians on Sunday afternoon.
In the Bottom 5, the relegation place is yet to be settled and mathematically can't be decided until the last day of the season. The University of Exeter come off their bye week with a home game against Beeston, who have lost their last three games, on Sunday. Exeter trail Durham University, who have a bye week this week, by two points as they try and preserve their top flight status.
Brooklands Manchester University visit Oxted, where they drew 4-4 earlier this season before losing 6-2 at home in the reverse fixture. Brooklands moved up to eighth with their 2-1 home win over Durham University and could finish there as Beeston, a point behind, are playing their last game of the season this weekend.