M1 Win 9-1 For The Second Time This Season
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men beat East Grinstead 9-1 in the Men's Hockey League Premier Division Top Six at Sugden Road on Sunday afternoon to record their second 9-1 victory of the season.
Back in October, Brooklands Manchester University had been on the wrong end of the 9-1 scoreline, but on the day that Old Georgians ended Surbiton's defence of their 2020 title with a 4-1 win at Hampstead & Westminster, ensuring Surbiton can no longer overtake them, Surbiton gained some consolation with their biggest league win over their long time rivals.
Surbiton had won 7-0 in September 2015 and 7-2 in October 2020 at Sugden Road, but these scorelines were surpassed and but for Luke Taylor's failure to convert from the penalty spot in the tenth minute, Surbiton would have achieved a double figure tally.
In front of a big crowd on a sunny afternoon, there was an early indication of the mayhem to come with the ball entering the East Grinstead goal after just 35 seconds, albeit after the visitors were awarded a free hit.
East Grinstead held out until the sixth minute when Jack Middleton scored from close range. Four minutes later, Alex Williams was fouled and a penalty stroke was awarded but the goal furthest away from the clubhouse was jinxed for the second day running as Taylor couldn't convert, following Darcy Bourne's miss the previous day for Surbiton Ladies against Clifton Robinsons.
Surbiton didn't have long to wait for goal number two, David Goodfield finishing from open play in the 14th minute. Three minutes later, Ben Park scored goal number three virtually in front of the goal-line as the East Grinstead defence were caught out again.
Surbiton went close in the 18th minute as Gareth Furlong's drag-flick from their second penalty corner rebounded off the left post to East Grinstead's relief.
To their credit, East Grinstead battled and were rewarded in the 25th minute when they were awarded a penalty stroke of their own, Jamie Wallace slotting the ball past Surbiton goalkeeper Ore Ogunlana to achieve the unique feat of scoring East Grinstead's only goal in all three matches against Surbiton this season.
Trailing 3-1 at half time, East Grinstead were caught cold twice early in the third quarter as Rob Farrington scored a quick open play brace in the 37th and 39th minutes, Tim Nurse crossing the ball for Farrington to finish at the right post for the second goal.
In the 43rd minute, it was Nurse's turn to score, falling to the ground before poking the ball past Richard Curtis as Surbiton established a 6-1 advantage.
Goal number seven came in the 52nd minute, Jamie Golden converting Surbiton's fifth penalty corner following a well worked move which saw the ball slipped to Golden to score in defiant fashion.
On the hour mark, a brilliant run by Goodfield ended with the ball passed to Nick Park to score Surbiton's eighth goal in a display which the Surbiton supporters thoroughly appreciated.
With five minutes remaining another excellent passing move allowed Alex Williams to score the simplest of goals from short range as complete a comprehensive 9-1 victory.
The defeat ensured that East Grinstead will finish sixth. Old Georgians' victory took their points tally to 45 with Surbiton now only able to get a maximum of 44 points from their last four matches. The second European place is still within reach, Wimbledon still holding a three point lead over Surbiton after a 5-1 home win over Holcombe. Holcombe are fifth, three points behind fourth placed Hampstead & Westminster.
In the Bottom 5, both Durham University and the University of Exeter are on course to be relegated after Brooklands Manchester University won 2-1 at Beeston to open up a nine point gap over both teams with just three matches to play.
Exeter moved off the bottom of the table on goal difference after their 3-1 home win over Durham University, but Brooklands' win saw them close to within two points of eighth placed Beeston, with Oxted in seventh, a point ahead of Beeston with a game in hand as they were without a game this weekend.
Old Georgians, ten points ahead of second placed Wimbledon, can clinch the title next Saturday evening when they are at home to Surbiton at St. George's College (6 pm). Old Georgians won 2-0 when the teams met in the last game of Phase One on 28 November.