M1 Beat Oxted 5-1
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men came from 1-0 down to beat Oxted 5-1 under the Sugden Road floodlights on Saturday evening.
Oxted's first visit to Sugden Road for a Men's Hockey League Premier Division match started promisingly when Nick Giles gave them a tenth minute lead from a penalty corner but Surbiton fought back to lead 3-1 at the interval before scoring twice in the second half to complete a comfortable victory.
The teams had previously met twice in the top flight at Oxted School and when Giles put the visitors ahead, Oxted's supporters must have had memories of the first encounter when Tim Guise-Brown's penalty corner gave Oxted a surprise 1-0 win in the final league match of the shortened 2020-21 season.
But ultimately, the match came close to matching the scoring of last season's meeting when Surbiton won 5-2. Ten minutes after Oxted took the lead, Surbiton were level, Louis Gittens scoring his first goal for the hosts with an acute angled shot from the right of the circle which rebounded off the far sideboard.
Gittens had come close to scoring from Surbiton's first penalty corner, awarded in the 14th minute after Tom Sorsby was shoved off the ball but Oxted goalkeeper, Fred Whitfield saved from both Gittens and initially Luke Taylor before Jordan Turnbull finally cleared the danger.
Having drawn level, Surbiton took the initiative by scoring two goals in as many minutes, Arjan Drayton Chana firing into the net from the left of the circle before raising both arms in celebration in the 27th minute and then a minute later, Gareth Furlong converting Surbiton's second penalty corner of the match to leave Oxted trailing 3-1.
Shortly afterwards, Adam Buckle was injured in a clash with Oxted's Matthew Crookshanks who was shown a yellow card as a result.
Just before half time, Oxted forced three successive penalty corners but couldn't find their way through Surbiton's penalty corner defence a second time.
Taylor kept up his record of scoring in every match, converting a penalty stroke in the 42nd minute after Ben Park had made a penetrating run towards goal, only to be brought down in the circle.
Four minutes later a passing move was completed by Drayton Chana slipping the ball past Whitfield at the left post.
In the fourth quarter, Oxted forced another three penalty corners but were thwarted by a superb save from James Mazarelo from their eighth and final award with two minutes remaining as they never gave up trying to find a second goal.
In Saturday night's other game, Wimbledon, fresh from their Euro Hockey League experience in Hamburg last weekend, beat East Grinstead 2-0.
On Sunday, Old Georgians, who lost out to Pinoke in KO8 in the Euro Hockey League in Hamburg are at home to Holcombe. Hampstead & Westminster are at home to Beeston; Reading head to Nottingham Hockey Centre for the second week running, this time to take on the University of Nottingham and there is a University Challenge in Devon as the University of Exeter are at home to Brooklands Manchester University.