M1 Open Up Five Point Gap After East Grinstead Win
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men opened up a five point lead at the top of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division following their 7-2 home win over East Grinstead on Saturday night.
The gap will be narrowed next week as Surbiton have their bye week during which they were due to compete in the Euro Hockey League in Amsterdam before it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
At Sugden Road, both teams attacked as the floodlights began to take effect and the deadlock was broken in the seventh minute as Tim Nurse scored his debut goal for Surbiton from the left of the circle.
However, East Grinstead were on level terms at the end of the first quarter, Simon Faulkner scoring from the penalty spot after a shot on goal from the visitors' second penalty corner was stopped illegally.
The goal seemed to galvanise Surbiton into action with Alan Forsyth restoring their lead in the 21st minute with a brilliant piece of individual skill, spinning round before dispatching the ball into the goal.
A minute later, Arjan Drayton Chana extended Surbiton's lead with a reverse stick shot.
Ben Boon put Surbiton 4-1 ahead from close range in the 28th minute, but East Grinstead fought back two minutes before half time, Luke Emmett scoring an excellent goal, blasting the ball into the netting.
That was the closest East Grinstead were due to get to a comeback with Forsyth scoring his second goal in the 46th minute with another individual and skilful effort.
Twelve minutes later, Forsyth completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, as with East Grinstead's penalty stroke, the award resulted from the team's second penalty corner.
Luke Taylor's penalty corner opportunities were restricted with Surbiton's first award coming after half time, but Taylor made no mistake with two minutes remaining, falling to the ground with the effort of sending his drag-flick into the top left corner to make the final score 7-2.
Hampstead & Westminster are five points but have a game in hand after their 4-1 win at London rivals, Wimbledon. Saturday's scheduled game between Brooklands Manchester University and Holcombe was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns at Holcombe.
On Sunday, Old Georgians are at home to the University of Exeter and Beeston host the University of Durham.