M1 Visit Wimbledon On Saturday Evening
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men will want to bounce back from the disappointment of dropping points at Hampstead & Westminster last weekend when they visit Wimbledon on Saturday evening.
Push back at Raynes Park High School is 1800.
Surbiton were on course for all three points at Paddington Recreation Ground last weekend thanks to David Goodfield's brace including a brilliant individual goal to put Surbiton 2-0 ahead before Hampstead struck back with two goals in three minutes to earn a point in a 2-2 draw.
Since Wimbledon won promotion to the Men's Hockey League Premier Division in 2012-13, local derbies have been exciting and very competitive, as evidenced in their last meeting at Raynes Park High School in March when the game ended 5-5.
Although Wimbledon had the better of the encounters at Sugden Road in the early years, Surbiton have an impressive record away to their local rivals, only losing once in eight meetings, Wimbledon winning 4-1 in February 2016.
The 5-5 draw ended a run of three successive victories for Surbiton, 2-1 in both October 2017 and November 2019, either side of a 2-0 win in March 2019.
As in March, the most common result is a draw with a 4-4 draw in February 2014 and 3-3 draws in February 2015 and October 2016.
Wimbledon and Old Georgians both played twice last weekend to catch up with their fixtures after their Euro Hockey League exploits earlier in the season. Wimbledon lost 4-2 at Old Georgians on Saturday and then beat Oxted 6-1 at home on Sunday.
Old Georgians followed up their victory over Wimbledon with an 8-2 home win over the University of Exeter to open up a two point lead over Surbiton after eight games with Wimbledon a further point behind in third.
Wimbledon started the season with a 4-2 win at Hampstead & Westminster before registering successive home wins over East Grinstead (2-0) and the University of Exeter (4-1). They had to battle to a narrow 1-0 win at Reading before overcoming Beeston 3-1 at home. Their visit to Holcombe saw Wimbledon drop their first points of the season in a 2-2 draw before their defeat at Old Georgians.
Wimbledon are not short of scoring options with thirteen players having found the net for the South West London club, Ed Horler leading the way with seven goals.
Liam Ansell and Ben Francis have both scored three goals with Ben Hooper netting twice. David Condon, Noah Darlington, Sam Hooper, Rory Patterson, Duncan Scott, Peter Scott, Ben Tibble, Jack Waller and Barney Wilkinson are the nine players who have scored once so far this season to help Wimbledon's challenge.
Surbiton are still unbeaten this season, having only dropped points at both Holcombe and Hampstead & Westminster in 2-2 draws on both occasions but have an important couple of matches ahead of them as after their visit to Wimbledon, Old Georgians travel to Sugden Road for an Elmbridge derby next Saturday evening (26 November).
Luke Taylor has scored seven goals and Gareth Furlong has scored five goals with Goodfield's double last weekend enabling him to join Alex Williams and Louis Gittens on three goals apiece. Arjan Drayton Chana, Rob Farrington and Tom Sorsby have each scored twice with Adam Buckle, James Gall, Ben Park, Nick Park and Stuart Rushmere all contributing single goals for Surbiton's cause.
The other game on Saturday evening sees Hampstead & Westminster travel to the University of Nottingham.
On Sunday, Old Georgians will want to cement their two point advantage with a home win over Reading. Holcombe, five points off the pace, visit Oxted.
Beeston, in the mix for a top six place with Reading travel to the University of Exeter whilst East Grinstead, who will be hoping for a repeat of the surging run from last season which saw them pip Oxted to the final place in the Top Six, start their revival campaign with a trip to Brooklands Manchester University, still looking for their first win of the season after earning their only point so far in a 2-2 draw at the University of Exeter.