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Men's League Finals At SHC This Weekend


12th April 2024

By Colin Pike

The Men's Hockey League Premier Division season concludes this weekend as the Men's League Finals are held at Surbiton HC for the second season running.

Old Georgians are aiming for a league championship hat-trick after winning their maiden title in 2021-22 by finishing top of the Premier Division table before retaining their title last season via the playoffs courtesy of a convincing 5-1 win over Holcombe in the final.

Holcombe didn't qualify this season after finishing third in Pool A behind Old Georgians and Hampstead & Westminster.

Hampstead take on hosts Surbiton in the first semi-final at 1530 on Saturday. Hampstead missed out on a league finals weekend place in 2023, but made a great start to their Pool A campaign in 2024 with a 1-0 win at Holcombe. After a narrow 2-1 defeat at Old Georgians in their second game, a 4-2 home win over Beeston last weekend sealed their place in the last four.

Hampstead finished fifth at the end of the regular season, but their Pool A victory at fourth-placed Holcombe proved to be the deciding factor in determining which team would join Old Georgians in the semi-finals.

Surbiton were disappointed to only finish third last season by beating Wimbledon 4-2 in the bronze medal playoff, having lost 2-1 to Holcombe in the semi-finals. Surbiton finished second in the regular season, six points behind Old Georgians, but Surbiton were the only team to beat Old Georgians this season in domestic hockey thanks to their 3-2 win at St. George's College back in September.

In Pool B, Surbiton thrashed Oxted 8-1 in their first match but honed their shootout technique by winning twice after being held to draws. Surbiton beat Southgate 4-1 after a 2-2 draw in normal time and last weekend, following a hard fought 1-1 draw with local rivals Wimbledon, Surbiton won 3-0 to finish top of the pool. A shootout was also needed against Wimbledon to clinch Surbiton's top place in the pool in 2023, but that came after a thrilling 4-4 draw in normal time.

Surbiton won both meetings with Hampstead this season, a 5-2 home win on the opening day of the season followed last month by a 3-0 win at Paddington Recreation Ground.

Old Georgians are assured of a place in Europe in 2024-25 because of their top-place finish but they will want to secure a hat-trick of titles on Sunday. 

As in 2023, their semi-final opponents are Wimbledon. Old Georgians needed a 4-3 shootout win to reach the final after a goalless draw. The home defeat against Surbiton has been the only blip on an otherwise perfect record in the Premier Division with Old Georgians going into the final weekend on a run of 17 successive wins.

The only other team to beat Old Georgians this season is Pinoké of the Netherlands, 4-1 winners in Amstelveen at the FINAL4 stage of the Euro Hockey League. Old Georgians went on to emulate Surbiton's 2022 achievement of coming home with the bronze medals after a 3-2 win over Rot-Weiss Köln, an achievement which will only make Old Georgians more determined to retain their domestic title.

Old Georgians beat Beeston 5-4, Hampstead & Westminster 2-1 and Holcombe 4-2 on their way to topping Pool A.

Wimbledon went on a scoring spree against Southgate in their opening Pool B match winning 7-3 before narrowly coming out on top 1-0 against Oxted, both matches played at home. Wimbledon missed out on the shootout bonus point against Surbiton, going down 3-0 after a 1-1 draw in normal time. They will want to go one better than last time, but Old Georgians were dominant the last time the teams met at St. George's College last month, Wimbledon going down 7-2. The previous meeting in South West London in September was far closer with Old Georgians winning 2-0.

The Men's third-place playoff is scheduled for 1215 on Sunday with the Final due to start at 1700.

More information about the tournament including match information plus statistical information can be found at the England Hockey Altius website here

Tickets for the weekend can be bought from the England Hockey Ticketing website here

Supporters unable to attend can watch the matches via the England Hockey TV channel on You Tube here