M1 Stunned By Holcombe
By Colin Pike
There was another twist to this season's Men's Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday night as Holcombe bounced back from their Thursday night home defeat against Old Georgians to win 3-2 at Sugden Road against Surbiton.
Holcombe moved back to the top of the table having dropped to second behind Wimbledon after their 2-1 loss on Thursday, but with Holcombe and Old Georgians' rearranged match meaning they have played one more match than their divisional rivals, the situation could change next weekend when the remaining ten teams all play catch up.
Holcombe and Old Georgians go to Barcelona for their Euro Hockey League KO16 matches with nine points from four games. But with Hampstead & Westminster, Wimbledon and Surbiton all on six points from three games, goal difference could be decisive in determining where the teams stand after next weekend's schedule.
Holcombe opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, Hayden Philips running at the Surbiton defence before slipping the ball to Phil Roper to find the backboard with an angled shot from the right of the circle.
Surbiton's strength in their early matches has been their penalty corner expertise, but Gareth Furlong's equaliser came in the 29th minute from the third of three successive awards.
Roper turned from goalscorer to goal provider in the 42nd minute as his aerial pass from the left sideline aerial found Bandurak on the far side of the pitch, Bandurak restoring Holcombe's lead from the edge of the circle.
Furlong levelled for a second time six minutes later, this time at the first attempt to give Surbiton hope of maintaining their unbeaten record.
However, Holcombe were not to be denied, Roper scoring from short rang five minutes from time before wheeling away to celebrate the visitors' second-ever regular season Premier Division win at Sugden Road and their second successive win at Sugden Road following their semi-final victory in last season's League Finals tournament.
Those supporters who were unable to attend the game can rewatch the match via the live stream on the Surbiton Hockey Club channel on You Tube here
Old Georgians followed up their victory at Holcombe Park with a 2-0 win at Wimbledon thanks to goals from Chris Proctor and James Carson.
Hampstead & Westminster took full advantage of Wimbledon and Surbiton's defeats to move up to third after a 5-1 victory at Reading. Sam French gave Hampstead the lead with Sam Apoola and Matt Guise-Brown both scoring twice. Nick Catlin scored Reading's consolation goal.
Southgate went close to a victory at Beeston, but Henry Croft's late equaliser earned a point in a 2-2 draw. Jamie Rawlings put Beeston ahead but Southgate fought back to lead 2-1 through Teague Marcano and Richmond Lum before Croft's stunning strike.
Cardiff & Met battled to a thrilling 4-4 draw with Oxted. Oxted led 3-2 at half time, Bradley Sherwood, Charlie Axford and Peter Jarvis scoring for Oxted with Scott Rawlings and Ioan Wall replying for Cardiff. Rawlings levelled for the hosts with his second goal of the match with Rhys Gowman seemingly earning Cardiff's second win of the season before Sherwood dramatically earned Oxted a point with a last minute goal.
East Grinstead beat the University of Nottingham 3-2 in West Sussex. Isaac Farrant and Max Lowrey both converted penalty corners to leave Nottingham trailing 2-0, but although Tim Ehret pulled a goal back for the students, they couldn't find the equaliser.
In the Conference East, Surbiton Men's 2s went down 2-1 at Spencer, Josh Redstone scoring for Surbiton.
Surbiton M1 visit Southgate next Saturday (7 October) push back 6 pm.