M1 Edge Ten Goal Thriller With Holcombe
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men stunned Holcombe by coming back from 4-2 down to win 6-4 in a thrilling Men's Hockey League Premier Division match at Sugden Road on Sunday afternoon.
After heavy rain in the morning and early afternoon, conditions dried out, but the floodlights were still needed for the opening league match of the season.
Both Surbiton and Holcombe gave a superb exhibition of attacking hockey with Tom Sorsby being stopped by defender Craig Wild; Ben Boon forcing a save from visiting goalkeeper Ollie Payne and Rob Farrington also have a shot saved, all in the first five minutes.
Robert Wild and Craig Nolan combined well before Tom Russell gave Holcombe an eighth minute lead from open play, the ball creeping inside the left post.
Jack Middleton was an attacking threat, Nick Park displayed excellent possession skills whilst evading tackles on the left wing and Gareth Furlong and Luke Taylor both had penalty corner opportunities during what proved to be a quiet passage of play compared with the rest of the match.
Surbiton's equaliser in the 26th minute was slightly fortunate as Rob Farrington in trying to pull the ball back from Holcombe's back line managed to force the ball into goal with a rebound off Payne.
Holcombe restored their lead six minutes later with a more spectacular goal, Nick Bandurak rifling the ball into goal from left of the circle to give the Kent club a 2-1 half time lead.
Still with no indication of the goal fest to come, Surbiton levelled for a second time when Furlong made no mistake with a penalty corner conversion from Surbiton's third award in the 45th minute, the ball rebounding off the backboard.
Surbiton were then shocked twice in as many minutes to suddenly trail 4-2, three minutes after restoring parity.
Both goals came from rebounds after Ore Ogunlana made vital saves, Jake Owen scoring Holcombe's goal in the 47th minute and Tom O'Keefe giving Surbiton work to do a minute later.
Surbiton's comeback started in the 50th minute, Farrington smashing the ball into the net from the right of the circle to reduce Holcombe's advantage to 4-3 going into the final quarter.
Taylor found the backboard in the 54th minute from Surbiton's fifth penalty corner to make the score 4-4.
Jamie Taylor and Jack Middleton were impressive, as was Ben Park.
David Goodfield put Surbiton ahead for the first time in the 66th minute, scoring after a run towards goal.
The icing on the cake came in the penultimate minute when from Surbiton's sixth and final penalty corner, Payne saved initially from Taylor before Ben Boon shot towards goal and won a penalty stroke.
There was some anxiety as the umpires consulted before the original decision was confirmed.
Taylor stepped up to slot the stroke past Payne to clinch a thoroughly entertaining victory for the reigning league champions.
Elsewhere, Old Georgians beat Beeston 4-0; the University of Durham won for the first time in the Premier Division with a 2-1 home win over Brooklands Manchester University; Oxted won 2-1 at East Grinstead and Hampstead & Westminster came out on top in their London derby at Wimbledon with a 3-2 victory.
Next Sunday, Surbiton visit Oxted, where last season they were beaten 1-0 in their last match before the season was suspended, Tim Guise-Brown, who played in today's match for Holcombe, scoring the only goal.