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M1 Visit Wimbledon on Saturday Afternoon


1st March 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men visit Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon as the race to finish top of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division at the end of Stage 2 intensifies.

Push back at Raynes Park High School is at 1600 and follows the Women's Hockey League Premier Division match between Wimbledon and Clifton Robinsons which starts at 1400.

Supporters planning to go to Raynes Park by train should note that due to engineering work in the Wimbledon area this weekend there will be a bus replacement service, alternatively the 131 bus from Kingston stops at West Barnes Level Crossing towards Tooting Broadway and has a frequent Saturday service.

Surbiton trail leaders Old Georgians by three points with two games remaining and with Old Georgians due to host Wimbledon in the final match next weekend, Surbiton can keep their hopes of a top of the table finish with a win at their local rivals.

Old Georgians can clinch first place and qualification for next season's Euro Hockey League with a win if  Surbiton fail to win at Wimbledon.

Wimbledon will go into the match three points behind Surbiton after a 3-1 home win over Holcombe on Thursday night, Ian Sloan, Charlie Stubbings and Sam Hooper giving them the win with Tim Guise-Brown replying for Holcombe, who lost on a Thursday night for the second time this season.

Wimbledon will also be aiming for their first league win over Surbiton since 2019-20 when they won 3-1 at Sugden Road. Surbiton haven't lost away to Wimbledon since the 2015-16 season when Wimbledon won 4-1.  

Surbiton didn't beat Wimbledon in the Premier Division until the ninth meeting in 2017-18, when they won 2-1 away. They had to wait until the following season to win for the first time at home with a 3-1 win before completing the double with a 2-0 win away from home.

In recent seasons it has been Surbiton's turn to be dominant, having won the last four meetings, including a 1-0 win back in October when James Gall scored the only goal. There have also been thrillers: the teams drew 4-4 in 2013-14 and had an incredible 5-5 draw in 2021-22, both encounters hosted by Wimbledon.

Wimbledon are currently on an eight game winning streak after Thursday's victory with plenty of options to score goals thanks to the 14 players who have combined to score 45 goals this season.

Sam Hooper is Wimbledon's leading goalscorer with eight goals, well supported by Ben Francis, Euan Gilmour and Ian Sloan who have each contributed five goals, Sloan's goals all coming from penalty strokes.

Ed Horler is just one goal further back on four, closely followed by Rhys Bradshaw, Rory Patterson and Duncan Scott on three. Charlie Stubbings, Jonathan Lankfer and and Jack Waller have each scored twice with Connor Greentree, Jack Turner and Callum McKenzie's single efforts also important in maintaining Wimbledon's challenge.

Surbiton bounced back from their 4-2 home defeat by Old Georgians to win 1-0 at Holcombe last Saturday thanks to Conor Williamson's penalty corner conversion and will want to keep up their recent impressive record against Wimbledon.

Old Georgians' home game with Southgate starts at 1800 with Holcombe hoping to stop a three game losing streak at home to Hampstead & Westminster at 1830.

In the Lower Six, Oxted, Beeston and East Grinstead are battling for the top two places and qualification for the League Finals. The teams are separated by just two points with Oxted heading to Nottingham Hockey Centre to face Beeston. East Grinstead will want to take advantage of any slip up with a home victory over Reading, whilst Cardiff & Met welcome the University of Nottingham to Wales as the East Midlands students try and lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

All three games start at 1800.