M1 Start Their Super 6s Campaign This Weekend
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men begin their 2023 Super 6s Championships campaign at Whitgift School this weekend as they aim to improve on last season's disappointing semi-final defeat to East Grinstead having finished top of the Premier Division table.
Unlike last season when the Men's and Women's Premier Divisions switched venues after the first week, when Surbiton Men started at Repton and then finished at Whitgift School, Surbiton are playing both weeks in South Croydon.
Surbiton finished top of the 2022 Premier Division table, three points clear of second placed Hampstead & Westminster, but came unstuck at the Copper Box against fourth placed East Grinstead who battled to a 5-5 draw before winning 2-1 in the shootout.
East Grinstead were well beaten 11-1 in the final by Wimbledon and it is the reigning champions who are Surbiton's first opponents at 10.30 on Saturday morning.
Surbiton have generally performed well indoors against their near neighbours, but Wimbledon won 5-3 last season in the Premier Division. In 2020, Surbiton won 6-2 in the semi-final before beating Holcombe 3-2 in the final. At Premier Division level, the 2020 meeting saw Surbiton beat Wimbledon 9-3 with Surbiton winning 10-5 in 2018-2019.
Wimbledon have had their moments with a 9-6 victory in 2017-18 after Surbiton won 9-3 in 2016-17.
Surbiton's second game on Saturday is against Repton at 2.30 pm. Last season's initial meeting at Super 6s level ended in a narrow 3-2 win for Surbiton against the Derbyshire opponents and Repton will want to make a good impression once again.
On Sunday, Surbiton don't play until 1 pm when they face an intriguing matchup with Elmbridge rivals Old Georgians, promoted from Division One last season. In a twist, former Surbiton player Alan Forsyth will be lining up for Old Georgians who will want to repeat their outdoor success in their maiden Super 6s Premier Division season.
Surbiton conclude the first week's fixtures at 5 pm on Sunday when they face Holcombe.
Surbiton have won the last four meetings including a convincing 10-1 victory last season in the Premier Division. Surbiton's 3-2 final success in 2020 had been preceded by another narrow victory, 5-4 in the round-robin Premier Division and Surbiton had also won 7-4 in 2019.
Holcombe beat Surbiton 8-6 in 2014-15 when the competition was the Hockey 5s Championships, but Surbiton's relegation meant the teams didn't meet again until 2017-18 when Holcombe were once again victorious, 5-4.
Over the second weekend, Surbiton will face East Grinstead; Hampstead & Westminster; Exeter University, who were promoted with Old Georgians from Division One last season and Sevenoaks.
The games can be followed in real time via the England Hockey Altius website via this link:
There will also be in game goal updates via the Surbiton HC Twitter account.