M1 Cement Second Place With 2-1 Win Over Wimbledon
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men strengthened their claim to second place in the Men's Hockey League Top Six table with a 2-1 home win over local rivals Wimbledon. Combined with Old Georgians' 2-1 win over Hampstead & Westminster, which clinched a European place for their Elmbridge rivals, Surbiton still trail the leaders by eight points but Holcombe are now third, five points behind Surbiton after their 6-0 victory over Reading.
Matches against Wimbledon are always tight and the latest local derby was no exception. Surbiton took the lead in the twelfth minute, David Goodfield converting the hosts' second penalty corner, but Wimbledon fought back in the same manner from their second penalty corner, Ed Horler levelling in the 22nd minute to leave all to play for in the second half.
Nick Park and Rob Farrington had had first half scoring chances, Ben Park and Tom Sorsby ran at the Wimbledon defence with David Condon, Sam Hooper and Jack Waller defending well for the visitors.
Wimbledon goalkeeper, James Bailey denied Gareth Furlong's attempt to restore Surbiton's lead immediately before half time.
In the second half, Farrington caused problems, Wimbledon needed to tackle Ben Park to stop another run and Surbiton's Adam Buckle and Wimbledon's Noah Darlington battled hard.
Towards the end of the third quarter, Bailey denied Tim Nurse after a defensive mix-up, Nurse banging his stick on the ground in frustration.
Stuart Rushmere went close in the fourth quarter, but the winning goal came in the 57th minute, Nick Park smashing the ball into the net at the left post from a cross from the right to give Surbiton their second win over Wimbledon this season after a 3-2 victory at Raynes Park High School in November.
Wimbledon couldn't convert a third penalty corner after a swing and a miss in the circle whilst Nurse was frustrated by Bailey again at the expense of a long corner before Surbiton could celebrate the victory.
Sam Ward scored twice for Old Georgians as they beat the only team to take points of them this season, Hampstead & Westminster, 2-1 at St. George's College. Sam French scored for Hampstead.
Tim Guise-Brown scored twice to help Holcombe to their 6-0 home win over Reading. Robert Field and Mo Mea ensured that Holcombe lead 4-0 at the interval, with Nick Bandurak and Tom Russell scoring after half time.
Wimbledon and Hampstead & Westminster have a game in hand and will meet each other at Raynes Park High School on 4 March. Before then, Hampstead visit Sugden Road for the second half of a women's/ men's double header with the push back scheduled for 4.30 pm on Sunday. Hampstead will be aiming for only their second win away to Surbiton, having won 2-1 in November 2021. Hampstead match preview can be found here
In the Lower Six, Oxted closed to within a point of leaders, Beeston with a 2-1 win at Nottingham Hockey Centre. Jonathan Lankfer and Alex Blumfield gave Oxted a 2-0 lead with Robbie Gleeson pulling a goal back for Beeston just before half time, but there was no further scoring in the second half.
Brooklands Manchester University's woes continued as the University of Exeter and the University of Nottingham both won to leave Brooklands eleven points adrift at the bottom of the table. Nottingham beat Brooklands 5-1, Conor Williamson helping himself to a brace, Louis Tipper, Charlie Axford and George Baugniet also scoring for the hosts, Ben Wallace scoring Brooklands' consolation.
Exeter are just one point behind East Grinstead after Nick Nurse, Jacob Payton and Louis Ridge gave them a 3-1 home win over the West Sussex club, Charlie Taylor scoring for East Grinstead.