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M1 Visit East Grinstead On Saturday Evening


17th November 2023

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men still have all to play for as Phase One of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division concludes on Saturday evening, when they visit East Grinstead (push back 6 pm).

Those supporters unable to go to West Sussex can watch the match via the East Grinstead HockeyTV Channel on You Tube here

All matches start at 6 pm because this is the last round of matches in Phase One. Although the qualifiers for the Top Six and Lower Six competitions in Phase Two were confirmed last weekend, Surbiton can finish top of the table above Old Georgians by overcoming a three goal inferior goal difference if both teams win on Saturday night.

Old Georgians host Southgate, who became the sixth and final team to qualify for the Top Six in their first season back in the Premier Division after winning Division One South last season.

Surbiton will be confident that they can be maintain their free scoring form that has seen them find the net 39 times in their last five matches against an East Grinstead defence which conceded 13 goals at home to Old Georgians and nine at Southgate before they rebounded to win 3-2 against Reading last weekend.

Holcombe also scored seven goals at Saint Hill, yet East Grinstead defied the form-book to win 1-0 at Hampstead & Westminster in October, so nothing is guaranteed.

East Grinstead are seventh, but four points behind sixth placed Southgate, forcing the West Sussex club to settle for a Lower Six place.

East Grinstead started the season with a 3-2 home loss to Oxted followed by a a 5-3 defeat at Beeston, but secured their first win of the season 2-1 at home to the University of Nottingham. They bounced back from a 2-0 loss at Wimbledon to beat Cardiff & Met 2-1 at home. Holcombe's decisive victory was again succeeded by the win at Hampstead before Old Georgians and Southgate proved too strong.

East Grinstead's morale boosting victory against Reading, coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 came at Saint Hill, but in a designated home match for Reading as the game was rearranged after the original match at Sonning Lane was abandoned with East Grinstead leading 2-0 after three quarters due to heavy rain causing the pitch to be flooded.

Simon Faulkner, who scored two penalty strokes in last week's win, is East Grinstead's leading goalscorer with four goals with Isaac Farrant, Archie Phillips and Sam Knight all on two goals. Max Lowrey, Hugh Pembroke, Daniel Faulkner, Josh Gravestock and Jack Webb have all scored once this season.

Surbiton last visited East Grinstead in February 2022 when they won 2-1, having won 6-1 at the same venue in October 2021. Surbiton have come away with all three points on their last five visits to West Sussex after a 2-2 draw in February 2017.

East Grinstead's last home victory came in October 2014 when they won 4-0.

Meanwhile, Surbiton have been on fire since their 1-0 home win over Wimbledon on 14 October with a 6-0 home win over Oxted; a 9-1 win at Beeston; an 8-0 victory at Cardiff & Met; and home wins over Reading (9-0) and the University of Nottingham (7-2).

Added to an entertaining 7-3 win at Southgate, Surbiton are currently on a seven game winning streak.

Struan Walker is Surbiton's leading goalscorer on 17 goals and would  be the Premier Division's top goalscorer, but for Sam Ward's 22 goals for Old Georgians.

Penalty corner specialists Gareth Furlong and Luke Taylor are both on nine, with three of Taylor's goals coming from penalty strokes.

Elsewhere on Saturday night, Third-placed Holcombe, three points behind the top two, go to fifth-placed Hampstead & Westminster, whilst fourth-placed Wimbledon visit tenth-placed Cardiff & Met.

The University of Nottingham will aim to avoid losing all eleven matches in Phase One when they welcome eighth-placed Oxted to Nottingham Hockey Centre and ninth-placed Beeston will hope to end a five game losing streak at eleventh-placed Reading, who in turn will want to earn only their second win of the season.