M1 Super Sixes Finals Preview
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men travel to the Copper Box Arena on Sunday with the aim of retaining the title they won when the Super Sixes were last held in 2020.
Surbiton beat Holcombe 3-2 in a low scoring final compared with other years, but with Holcombe failing to qualify from the Premier Division tournament held at Repton and Whitgift School, Surbiton will have to overcome East Grinstead in the semi-finals and either Hampstead & Westminster or Wimbledon in the final.
Surbiton face East Grinstead at 1300 in the first semi-final with both teams having met four times in the Final Four since 2010.
On Surbiton's first ever Finals Day appearance, East Grinstead proved too strong, winning 9-5 in the final at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham.
Matt Jones and Mark Pearn were in charge of East Grinstead that day and brought immediate success to Surbiton in 2017, when on their return to the top flight after promotion from Division One, Surbiton ended East Grinstead's run of eight successive titles with a 12-5 victory at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
East Grinstead went on to further success in 2018 and 2019, beating Surbiton 3-1 in a shootout in the 2019 final after normal time saw the teams level at 3-3.
East Grinstead had also ended Surbiton's defence at the semi-final stage in 2018, as Surbiton lost 3-1 at the Copper Box, where the Super Sixes finals have been held since 2018.
Surbiton qualified in first place after a Premier Division decider against Hampstead & Westminster, which Surbiton narrowly won 7-6. East Grinstead snatched the fourth and final qualifying place by beating Reading and Brooklands Manchester University in their last two matches.
Hampstead & Westminster meet Wimbledon in a London derby in the second semi-final at 1415. Hampstead had to settle for second place after the Surbiton defeat, starting their campaign with an 8-6 win over Wimbledon in each team's first Premier Division match.
Hampstead have had a relatively quick rise to the Premier Division after being relegated to Division Two in 2013-14, Surbiton beating them 9-6 along the way. Hampstead won promotion in successive seasons: from Division Two in 2016-17 and Division One in 2017-18, and have qualified for Finals day in two seasons out of three.
Surbiton have won two out of three meetings in the Premier Division, losing 6-2 to Hampstead in 2018-19 and winning 5-4 in 2019-20. On their previous Finals Day appearance, Hampstead lost 7-5 to East Grinstead in the 2019 semi-final.
Wimbledon have been in the Premier Division since 2015-16 and inflicted Surbiton's only defeat so far this season, winning 5-3 at Repton.
Surbiton beat Wimbledon 6-2 in the 2020 semi-final and won three of the first four meetings, winning 9-3 in 2016-2017, 10-5 in 2018-19 and 9-3 in the 2019-20 Premier Division.
Those supporters who can't get to the Copper Box can watch the action via the England Hockey TV You Tube channel here
Or via Watch Hockey here
The action can also be followed online in real time via the England Hockey Altius website here
And there will also be regular updates via the Surbiton HC Twitter account.