M1 Visit Hampstead on Saturday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men visit Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday afternoon with European qualification on the line.
On the final day of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division season all games start at 2 pm to try and avoid any team getting an advantage.
Surbiton need to win at Hampstead & Westminster and hope that Wimbledon don't win at Old Georgians to qualify for the Euro Hockey League and build on last weekend's historic bronze medal in Amsterdam.
If Surbiton win and Wimbledon draw, Surbiton's goal difference advantage would be enough to see them qualify for Europe.
This will be Surbiton's first visit to Paddington Recreation Ground this season with Surbiton and Hampstead both having tasted victory in the first two meetings at Sugden Road. Hampstead won 2-1 in November before Surbiton won 3-2 in February.
In addition to the race for Europe, the top goalscorer in the Premier Division also has to be decided with Hampstead's Matt Guise-Brown currently leading the way with 21 goals. Surbiton's Luke Taylor is one behind on 20 together with Wimbledon's Ed Horler and Old Georgians' Sam Ward, who missed part of the season due to injury, is on 18.
Hampstead have also been able to rely on former Surbiton player Rupert Shipperley's seven goals and Matt Ramshaw's six goal tally with the other goals shared between nine different players.
Hampstead will also be returning from Europe having finished fifth in the EHL Ranking Cup in Terrassa in Spain.
Hampstead's form over the last five matches has not been great with three defeats bookended by home (6-0) and away (4-1) wins over sixth placed East Grinstead.
A 4-1 home defeat to Old Georgians, a 4-3 loss at Holcombe and a 5-1 defeat at Wimbledon have seen Hampstead drop out of contention for the second European place.
In the other Top Six match, Holcombe host East Grinstead.
In the Bottom Five, Durham University need to win at home to Oxted if they are going to have any hope of retaining their Premier Division status. They trail the University of Exeter by one point going into the final weekend, but a 28 worse goal difference than Exeter means that a draw would be of no use. Exeter make the long trip to Brooklands Manchester University, knowing that if they win, Durham's relegation would be confirmed regardless of the result against Oxted.