M1 Host Hampstead & Westminster on Sunday
By Colin Pike
Surbiton host Hampstead & Westminster at Sugden Road on Sunday (push back 4.30 pm) for their second local derby in as many days after a thrilling 2-1 home win over Wimbledon on Saturday evening.
Old Georgians clinched first place in the Men's Hockey League Top Six table with a 2-1 victory over Hampstead on Saturday, Sam French scoring Hampstead's goal. Hampstead are the only team to have taken points off Old Georgians this season (drawing 2-2 at St. George's College in October) so should prove to be worthy opponents for Surbiton.
The first meeting at Paddington Recreation Ground also ended in a 2-2 draw, Hampstead fighting back from a 2-0 deficit after David Goodfield scored twice, including a brilliant individual goal. Marc Edwards and Hywel Jones scored twice in three minutes to show that Hampstead can never be written off.
The point was never more obvious than in March 2018 when Surbiton were stunned at Paddington Rec when Hampstead battled to a 5-4 victory,
However, historically in a fixture which dates back to 2001-02 in the Premier Division, Surbiton have had the better of things with Hampstead amazingly only ever winning once away to Surbiton, in November 2021, when they won 2-1.
Hampstead have only won three home games out of 21, but there have been some thrilling draws over the years with 4-4 draws in October 2006 and October 2008 at Paddington Rec and March 2004 at Surbiton. There was also the incredible 8-4 victory for Surbiton in November 2019 at Sugden Road.
Before Saturday's defeat at Old Georgians, Hampstead had been in scintillating form, winning four games in a row, including two successive victories over Reading either side of the winter break. But for the 2-2 draws with Surbiton and Old Georgians, Hampstead have won every other game after starting the season with two successive defeats at home to Wimbledon (2-4) and at Holcombe (1-3).
French's goal at Old Georgians was his 14th of the campaign and he is easily Hampstead's leading goalscorer this season with Stephen Kelly second on six. Hampstead have multiple options when scoring goals with 14 players having scored for the London club already this season.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Wimbledon, who face Hampstead in a rearranged game next Saturday, are at home to Reading, who qualified for the Top Six on their return to the Premier Division and it's Holcombe's turn to face Old Georgians at Holcombe Park.
In the Lower Six, Beeston have a local derby as the University of Nottingham come all the way from the other side of the Nottingham Hockey Centre car park for a noon showdown. East Grinstead who suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the University of Exeter on Saturday, are at home to a Brooklands Manchester University side still looking for its first win of the season and Exeter travel to Oxted.