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M1 Visit Hampstead & Westminster On Saturday


8th March 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men complete Stage 2 of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division season when they visit Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday evening. 

As this is the final weekend of the Premier Division Top Six, all matches start at 1800.

Old Georgians clinched a first-place finish last weekend when Surbiton lost 4-2 at Wimbledon, the reigning champions, going into the final round of matches with a six point lead over both Surbiton and Wimbledon having earned a minimum of the second European place and entry into the 2025 Euro Hockey League.

Wimbledon play at Old Georgians whilst Surbiton are at Paddington Recreation Ground with both teams aiming to finish second. Surbiton have a sixteen better goal difference than Wimbledon.

Hampstead are guaranteed to finish fifth as they are currently six points adrift of fourth-placed Holcombe and eight points ahead of sixth-placed Southgate. Holcombe visit Southgate in the other Top Six match.

If Surbiton finish second, the top five places in the 2023-24 Premier Division table will be exactly the same as in 2022-23, with Southgate replacing Reading in sixth.

Hampstead have struggled in recent weeks, having won one of their last five league games, beginning with their last match in 2023. Two of the four defeats came against Holcombe, Old Georgians and Wimbledon both winning at Paddington Recreation Ground and the only victory coming in a 4-2 win at Southgate.

The fixture is the reverse of the opening day match at Sugden Road when Surbiton won 5-2. Hampstead bounced back by winning their next five games before suffering two successive losses followed by two successive victories led to their recent five game form.

Penalty corner specialist Matt Guise-Brown is Hampstead's leading goalscorer with 15 goals, Sam Apoola next on five. Kei Kaeppeler and Sam French have both scored four goals with Rupert Shipperley, Tom Crowson and Josh Kelly each scoring twice.

Stephen Kelly, James Oates, Dale Hutchinson, Jolyon Morgan and Joe Hillyer have all scored once during the campaign.

Surbiton last visited Paddington Recreation Ground in November 2022 when they drew 2-2. Hampstead last beat Surbiton at home in March 2018 when they made a fantastic comeback to win 5-4 in a thriller. That was Hampstead's first home win over Surbiton since December 2011 and historically, Surbiton have dominated in recent years, although Hampstead beat Surbiton 3-1 in the 2019 MHL Championships final at Lee Valley to become national champions after Surbiton won the title 3-2 in a shootout after a 3-3 thriller in normal time against their London rivals a year earlier.

Hampstead only away win against Surbiton came in November 2021 when they won 2-1.

In the Lower Six, Beeston have clinched their place in the League Finals and will be joined by East Grinstead or Oxted who meet in Surrey. Oxted need to win to book their place whilst a draw would be enough for East Grinstead, but with Beeston only two points ahead of Oxted, which team finishes in seventh and eighth is far from certain.

Beeston travel all the way across the Nottingham Hockey Centre car park to Pitch 4 for the first time to meet the University of Nottingham, with both previous Premier Division meetings having taken place on Pitch 1.

In the other fixture, Reading host Cardiff & Met in a match which could be vital in deciding which teams are relegated to Division One. Cardiff & Met are on eight points, Reading on six and the University of Nottingham on five with two of the three guaranteed to play in the second tier next season.