M1 Second In Premier Division After Hampstead Defeat
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men dropped to second in the Men's Hockey League Premier Division after Hampstead & Westminster won 2-1 to claim their first ever win at Sugden Road in the Premier Division on Saturday night.
In a hard fought London derby which was goalless for the first 45 minutes, Hampstead fell behind before mounting a comeback to make history.
Wimbledon replaced Surbiton at the top following their 7-0 home win over Brooklands Manchester University, but Surbiton have a game in hand and welcome Wimbledon to Sugden Road next Saturday.
On Sunday, Hampstead followed up their win at Surbiton with 4-0 home win over the University of Durham to close to within four points of Surbiton and Old Georgians. Old Georgians joined Surbiton on 21 points with a 5-1 home win over Oxted. Old Georgians also have a game in hand over Wimbledon.
Holcombe beat Beeston 5-2 and East Grinstead won 3-2 at the University of Exeter in Sunday's other league games.
As with the Ladies' match, two minutes silence was observed before the game to pay respects to those who lost their lives fighting for their country.
The match with Hampstead started off as a physical encounter with both James Gall and Sam Spencer fouled in the first two minutes and Hampstead's Rupert Shipperley was a fifth minute visitor to the sin-bin after seeing green for a foul on Nick Park.
Surbiton tried to play the attacking hockey which had seen them score 41 goals in their first seven matches, but Hampstead got their tactics right with tight marking and good defensive play when Tim Nurse, David Goodfield and Rob Farrington combined.
Hampstead threatened from a tenth minute penalty corner which Ore Ogunlana saved and at the other end Farrington forcefully smashed the ball into the surrounding fence after his shot went wide of the right post.
In the second quarter, Matt Ramshaw saw yellow in the 20th minute, but Surbiton couldn't take advantage with Hampstead successfully defending a run of three penalty corners with excellent blocking tactics.
Tensions started to rise as first, Surbiton's Jonty Griffiths was banished to the naughty step for two minutes in the third quarter and then in the 45th minute, Ramshaw received his second yellow and James Gall his first.
This time, Surbiton did take advantage, Ben Boon finishing an excellent attacking move in style a minute later, Toby Reynolds-Cotterill helpless to stop Boon's shot disturbing the net to the delight of the home supporters.
Hampstead equalised in the 50th minute, Matt Guise-Brown scoring his ninth goal of the season from the visitors' second penalty corner to give the massive crowd even more entertainment.
The winning goal came in the 59th minute, Rupert Shipperley finishing after Hampstead were given the opportunity to make a breakaway attack.
Surbiton continued to struggle with their penalty corner routine, Reynolds-Cotterill equal to whatever the hosts did and although Hampstead's Stephen Kelly became the fifth player to visit the naughty step in the penultimate minute, Hampstead celebrated when the final whistle was blown.