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M1 Host Southgate On Saturday Evening


9th February 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men resume their Men's Hockey League Premier Division campaign on Saturday night when they welcome Southgate to Sugden Road for the first match of the Top Six.

The match sees the start of the year long celebrations of Surbiton HC's 150th anniversary and will start at 1800.

Supporters unable to attend can watch the match via the Surbiton Hockey Club channel on You Tube here

Southgate's visit will be their first since February 2015, when Surbiton won 6-1. Southgate spent the 2016-17 to 2018-19 seasons in the Conference East when it comprised the second tier of the England Hockey League. When the league was restructured to add a third tier from 2019-20, Southgate retained their second tier status and competed in Division One South, winning promotion after topping the table last season.

The meeting in Stage 1 was very entertaining, Surbiton winning 7-3 at Southgate Hockey Centre in October. Struan Walker scored four goals, Louis Gittens scored twice and Ben Park also scored for Surbiton with Karan Sofat, Teague Marcano and Kwan Browne replying for Southgate.

Southgate's first season back in the top-flight has been successful with qualification for the Top Six, finishing in sixth place, three points ahead of both Oxted and Beeston.

Matt Ramshaw is Southgate's top scorer with eight goals, closely followed by Marcano and Browne who are both on six. Five of Browne's goals have come from penalty strokes and anyone tempted to leave early should bear in mind that Southgate have scored six goals in the last five minutes with four goals coming in the 70th minute!

Richmond Lum has supported well with five goals and former Surbiton players, Jack Middleton and Will Calnan have joined Karan Sofat on three goals. Archie Foster and Daniel West have scored twice with Rohan Bhuhi and Sam Paterson's single efforts helping Southgate to qualify for a Top Six place.

Southgate's results have varied with their last three games in Stage One ending W 6-2 v Oxted; W 9-1 v East Grinstead (both at home) and L 2-6 v Old Georgians (away). Whatever happens, the match should prove to be a worthy introduction to the 150th anniversary celebrations.

Historically, Southgate were the first ever Men's Hockey League Division One champions in 1988-89 and were one of the top clubs at that time. They first met Surbiton in 1992-93 when Southgate won 4-3 on Sugden Road's relatively new artificial pitch.

Southgate stayed in the top tier until 2001-02 when they were relegated for the first time and didn't return until the 2008-09 season after winning the second tier Division One in 2007-08. Sadly, they made an immediate return after relegation, but didn't have to wait as long to regain their place after winning the Conference East in 2010-11.

This time, they were relegated in their second season in 2012-13, but made an immediate return by claiming the Conference East title in 2013-14 before spending their last season in the top tier in 2014-15 before this season.

Surbiton trail leaders Old Georgians on goal difference with both teams having lost just once in Stage 1. Holcombe are hovering just three points behind in third place.

Walker is Surbiton's leading goalscorer with an impressive 18 goals in his first season at Sugden Road with penalty corner specialists Luke Taylor and Gareth Furlong locked together on ten goals. Alex Williams has scored six goals, Louis Gittens is on five, and both Ben Park and Jack Hobkirk have scored three times.

James Gall has scored twice with Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Tim Nurse and Nick Park all scoring once.

Elsewhere in the Top Six, Old Georgians are at home to Holcombe at 1800 and meet on a Saturday for the first time this season with the Stage 1 matchup having been rearranged for a Thursday night due to Old Georgians' involvement in the Euro Hockey League.

Hampstead & Westminster are at home to Wimbledon at 1745 in the third match of a triple header following their M2 taking on Surbiton M2 in a Conference East clash at 2 pm and Surbiton's W1 meeting Hampstead at 1545.

In the Lower Six, where the top two will join the Top Six teams in the League Finals Pools, before the remaining four teams battle in the relegation playoffs, Oxted are at home to the University of Nottingham who are looking for their first points of the season (1630).

Beeston take on Reading in the East Midlands at 1800 in the second game of their doubleheader and Cardiff & Met welcome East Grinstead to Wales for another 1800 start.