M1 Beat Wimbledon 5-1
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men maintained their hopes of pipping Wimbledon to runners-up spot and claiming the second European qualification place with a convincing 5-1 win over their local rivals at Sugden Road on Saturday evening.
The victory closed the gap to two points with one game to play on 23 April when Surbiton visit Hampstead & Westminster and Wimbledon face champions, Old Georgians.
Both previous meetings this season between Surbiton and Wimbledon had been drawn with Surbiton coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home in November and Wimbledon coming from 5-2 down to incredibly draw 5-5 at Raynes Park High School in March. But this time, there was to be no comeback as Surbiton kept their 5-1 advantage to the end.
Back in November, Wimbledon had opened the scoring in the third minute and in the rematch, Surbiton almost reversed the feat, Rob Farrington crossing into the circle for Ben Boon to deflect the ball past James Bailey in the fourth minute.
Nick Park then set up a scoring chance for James Gall to double Surbiton's lead on the quarter-hour from the left of the circle and put the hosts in the ascendancy.
But just five minutes later, Wimbledon were back in the match, Ed Horler joining Surbiton's Luke Taylor on 20 goals with a bobbling penalty corner conversion from Wimbledon's first award of the game.
Four minutes before half time, Surbiton's two goal advantage was restored, Alex Williams putting away a rebound from their third penalty corner of the game to ensure that Surbiton turned round with a 3-1 lead.
Surbiton's fourth goal in the 51st minute was set up by an attacking run from Tim Nurse before the ball found its way to Sam Spencer who smashed the ball home from the edge of the circle to delight the large crowd enjoying the local derby.
Williams struck again with just two minutes to play from Surbiton's fifth penalty corner to complete and emphatic 5-1 victory and prove that the champions from 2019-20 had not yet given up on qualifying for Europe once again.
Elsewhere on Saturday night, Hampstead & Westminster beat East Grinstead 6-0 with Matt Guise-Brown scoring twice to go top of the Premier Division top goalscorer chart on 21.
Holcombe play Old Georgians on Sunday afternoon.
In the Bottom 5, Brooklands Manchester University won 5-4 at Oxted, where they had drawn 4-4 in November. Oxted had won 6-2 at Brooklands in March.
The University of Exeter, battling with Durham University to avoid relegation to Division One, host Beeston on Sunday afternoon.