M1's Final Hopes Ended By Holcombe
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men's hopes of reaching the final of the Men's Hockey League Finals on home turf at Sugden Road were ended by Holcombe, 2-1 winners in the second semi-final on Saturday evening.
Holcombe will face reigning champions and Premier Division winners Old Georgians in Sunday's final at 5 pm, a match which will see the top two goalscorers: Old Georgians' Sam Ward and Holcombe's Nick Bandurak come face to face for the title.
Old Georgians drew 0-0 with Wimbledon before winning the shootout 4-3 in the first semi-final.
Both meetings between Surbiton and Holcombe this season had been close with a 2-2 draw in Kent and Surbiton snatching a late 3-2 victory in Surrey in the return fixture.
Surbiton were left chasing the game after Bandurak struck twice, the first with a stunning strike in the 14th minute and a second clinical finish in the 25th minute.
Surbiton's penalty corner routine was defended well by Holcombe with Surbiton failing to score from two awards at the end of the first quarter and Tom Sorsby failing to score in the third quarter.
Louis Gittens, Alex Williams, Rob Farrington and Arjan Drayton-Chana all had chances to score but the ball just wouldn't fall for them at the right time.
Surbiton's goal in the 63rd minute was a brilliant individual goal from Tom Sorsby, but it wasn't enough to stop Holcombe reaching the final. Surbiton's last chance came with a last gasp penalty corner award, but after an umpire consultation, the award was withdrawn leaving Holcombe to celebrate their victory and a place in the final against Old Georgians.
Surbiton will play Wimbledon at 3 pm in the third-place playoff, a fixture which last took place last weekend when Surbiton won a shootout after a pulsating 4-4 draw.
Old Georgians had beaten Wimbledon 3-1 and 4-2 in their Premier Division meetings, but for only the second time this season, Old Georgians were held to a draw after 70 minutes, Hampstead and Westminster having drawn 2-2 in October.
Defences were very much on top with Old Georgians having four penalty corner awards and Wimbledon one but goalkeepers George Pinner and James Bailey kept their goals intact to keep their sides hope of a final place alive.
Wimbledon had lost the shootout against Surbiton 3-1, but came closer against another Elmbridge team.
Old Georgians immediately took the initiative, leading 2-0 with James Albery and Josh Pavis scoring and Pinner denying Wimbledon's Jules Bournac and Rory Patterson. Bailey gave Wimbledon hope as Lee Morton failed to score with Peter Scott reducing Old Georgians' lead to 2-1. Tom Carson for Old Georgians and Jack Waller for Wimbledon made the score 3-2. Ian Sloan levelled the score at 3-3 but James Tindall won the shootout with a stunning finish into the net as Old Georgians aim to retain their league title.
Sunday is sold out, but the games can be watched via England Hockey TV here
The games can also be followed on England Hockey Altius.
The men's competition can be found here
The women's competition can be followed here