M1's Super 6s Hopes Ended By Old Georgians
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men's hopes of a third Super 6s Championships title were ended by Old Georgians at the semi-final stage on Sunday as Old Georgians won 8-4 at the Copper Box Arena.
Surbiton had won in 2017 and 2020, but their Elmbridge rivals, making their debut at Finals Day after being promoted from Division One last season, were always in control after racing into a 3-0 lead after just five minutes and although Surbiton mounted a comeback after going 5-0 down to trail 6-4, Old Georgians scored twice in the final minute to seal their place in the final.
Old Georgians had also led 3-0 in the earlier Premier Division meeting at Whitgift School before drawing 4-4, but this time, Surbiton could not fight back to level at 3-3 before earning a draw.
Former Surbiton player James Tindall put Old Georgians ahead in the third minute before Tom Carson doubled the lead from a penalty corner before the third minute expired and from an open play goal in the fifth minute.
Another former Surbiton player, Alan Forsyth extended Old Georgians' lead to 4-0 in the 17th minute and then scored Old Georgians' fifth goal in the 27th minute to give the newly promoted team one foot in the final.
Surbiton mounted a mini-comeback starting with Luke Taylor beating George Pinner in the Old Georgians' goal from the penalty spot in the 28th minute and Jonny Gall scoring from open play on the half hour mark.
Tindall restored Old Georgians' four goal advantage in the 31st minute from a penalty corner before the Gall brothers scored two goals in three minutes to reduce Surbiton's deficit to 6-4, Jonny notching his second goal of the game with five minutes to play and James scoring in the 37th minute.
Lee Morton all but confirmed Old Georgians' victory in the last minute before Surbiton's sixth penalty corner inadvertently set up their opponents eighth goal as Old Georgians broke away for Forsyth to complete his hat-trick in the dying seconds.
Ore Ogunlana made several important saves in an entertaining match which saw plenty of end to end action.
The second semi-final was a repeat of the 2022 final but was much closer with Wimbledon beating East Grinstead 2-1 in a shootout after Wimbledon were held to a thrilling 6-6 draw in normal time, Ben Mackey with a late equaliser for East Grinstead. Last season, East Grinstead had knocked Surbiton out at the same stage on a shootout after a 5-5 draw but it was the West Sussex club's turn to suffer shootout heartbreak.
Old Georgians' hopes of lifting the title at the first attempt were thwarted by Wimbledon who secured a second straight championship also in a shootout after a 6-6 draw. The shootout went to sudden death after a 2-2 score after each team had three attempts. Having gone second initially, the order changed at sudden death with Jules Bournac giving Wimbledon the lead for the first time at 3-2 before veteran indoor hockey star, Ashley Jackson failed to score, having successfully netted from the very first attempt of the shootout.
More information about the Men's Finals can be found at the England Hockey Altius website via this link.
Repton won the Women's title for the first time with a convincing 6-1 victory over Buckingham, to make up for the disappointment of losing to East Grinstead in the final in 2022.
Former Surbiton player and current Repton captain, Erica Sanders scored a hat-trick supported by a brace from Poppy Barlow and a single effort form Sonja Zimmermann, with Lauren Thomas scoring Buckingham's consolation right at the end of the match.
Buckingham, who qualified in fourth place, knocked out holders East Grinstead 4-3 in the first semi-final to reverse the result in the Premier Division at Repton School. Chloe Brown's double seemed to have put East Grinstead on the road to the final, but Buckingham fought back to lead 4-2 through Rebecca van Arrowsmith, a brace from captain, Lottie Porter and Alex Naughalty. Carlota Gomez scored a last minute penalty stroke, but there wasn't enough time for East Grinstead to find an equaliser.
Repton had beaten Bowdon 8-1 in the Premier Division but found the North West team a tougher proposition at the Copper Box although after Janne Muller-Wieland cleared the ball of her own goal-line, Repton dominated but couldn't convert any of the four corners they forced in the first seven minutes. Bowdon nearly took the lead in the 14th minute but Sally Walton's penalty stroke was disallowed as it was determined to be a drag-flick.
Repton didn't need any further warnings and scored two quick goals, Ellie Watton opening the scoring in the 18th minute with Amelia Pollock doubling the lead a minute later. Walton finally got on the scoresheet from a 27th minute penalty corner but Repton defended three Bowdon penalty corners in the last minute to reach the final.
More information about the Women's Finals can be found at the England Hockey Altius website via this link.