M1 Have Local Derby At Wimbledon On Sat. Night
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men face a key local derby on Saturday night when they play Wimbledon at Raynes Park High School (push back 6 pm).
With Old Georgians holding an eleven point advantage over Surbiton, the target for the reigning champions now is realistically the second European place, currently held by Wimbledon after they won 4-1 at Hampstead & Westminster last weekend.
Surbiton slipped to defeat, 3-0 at Holcombe on Sunday afternoon and trail second-placed Wimbledon by three points with Holcombe, now fourth and fifth-placed Hampstead & Westminster both close behind, two points in arrears.
But for two Luke Taylor penalty corner conversions in the last four minutes in November, Surbiton would have lost to Wimbledon at Sugden Road after Sam Hooper and Ronan Harvey-Kelly gave Wimbledon a 2-0 half time lead.
But Taylor was Surbiton's hero that night and the point earned could prove vital if Surbiton are going to qualify for the Euro Hockey League once more.
Since the draw, Wimbledon's form has been up and down, losing 1-0 at Holcombe before winning 2-1 at East Grinstead. Old Georgians then avenged their only defeat of the campaign, 2-0 in October by winning 5-3 at Wimbledon on 27 February.
Then last weekend, Wimbledon crossed London to play Hampstead & Westminster at Paddington Recreation Ground and won 4-1 to pull three points clear of Surbiton.
After Wimbledon were promoted to the Premier Division, they dominated Surbiton, but in recent years, Surbiton have won on their last three journeys to Wimbledon, suffering their last defeat in February 2016, having also drawn 3-3 in October 2016.
Ed Horler is Wimbledon's main threat with nine goals this season, although Evan Kimber has given excellent support with six. Sixteen players have scored for Wimbledon in the Premier Division this season showing their strength in depth in the goalscoring stakes.
Leaders, Old Georgians are at home to Holcombe on Sunday and Hampstead & Westminster are at East Grinstead on Saturday night.
In the Bottom 5, Beeston travel to Oxted with both teams reasonably safe from relegation whilst the University of Exeter ended a run of 20 winless games in superb style, winning 9-0 at Durham University last weekend and with Durham having a bye week this weekend, Exeter can draw level with Durham if they beat Brooklands Manchester University at home.