M1 Third After Opening Day of Super 6s Championships
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men are third in the Super 6s Championships Premier Division after the first day's action at Whitgift School in South Croydon.
A thrilling 4-3 defeat to Wimbledon was followed by a convincing 7-4 victory over Repton to leave them as the best placed team of five teams on three points. East Grinstead and newly promoted Old Georgians are the only teams to have won both their games on the opening day with East Grinstead thrashing Hampstead & Westminster 11-2 and beating the University of Exeter 7-0. Old Georgians beat Sevenoaks 9-4 and sneaked a late 5-4 win over Wimbledon on their Premier Division debut.
Surbiton had a tough start against reigning champions Wimbledon in the first match of the tournament on Saturday morning. Manuel Prol gave Wimbledon a great start with a fifth minute opener, only for Dylan Parry to equalise three minutes later, both goals coming from penalty corners.
Wimbledon led 3-1 at half time thanks to open play goals by Peter Scott in the 17th minute and Jack Turner in the 20th but Surbiton were set to fight back in the second half.
Jonny Gall pulled a goal back in the 26th minute and Jamie Golden, back at Surbiton for the indoor tournament after playing outdoor hockey for Beeston, thought that he'd salvaged a point with a leveller in the 39th minute, only for Ed Horler to score what proved to be the winner just seconds later in a thrilling London derby.
Ironically it was Wimbledon's turn to be caught late in their second match against Old Georgians as having led 4-3 with just two minutes remaining, former Surbiton player Alan Forsyth equalised for Old Georgians in the 39th minute and Ashley Jackson clinched a 5-4 victory with a last minute goal.
Surbiton had opened their account in the preceding match against a Repton team which didn't give up. Last season's meeting had ended 3-2 to Surbiton, but at half time in 2023, Repton trailed 2-0, Alex Williams opening the scoring in the 15th minute and Golden doubling the lead three minutes later.
An amazing 25th minute saw three goals scored in the sixty seconds, Simon Claris halving Surbiton's lead from the penalty spot. Rob Farrington restored Surbiton's two goal advantage from open play, only for James Sookias to reply a second time for Repton before the minute expired.
Surbiton dominated the next ten minutes, scoring four goals without reply. Ben Park and Sam Spencer scored from open play respectively in the 29th and 30th minutes; Jonny Gall scored in the 33rd and Parry completed the scoring from a penalty corner with five minutes to play.
On Sunday, Surbiton will hope to end Old Georgians one hundred per cent record when they meet at 1 pm. Surbiton will then face Holcombe in a repeat of the 2020 final in the last match of the weekend at 5 pm. Both of Holcombe's games have ended 4-3, starting with a win over Exeter University before losing narrowly to Repton.
More information about the Premier Division can be found at the England Hockey Altius website via this link
In Division One, Brooklands Manchester University and Team Bath Buccaneers are making the early running with two wins out of two ahead of five teams on three points: West Herts; Ashmoor; Loughborough Students; Canterbury and Oxted. Doncaster and Ipswich are still looking for their first points.
In Division Two where the teams are split into North and South sections with the top three teams from each section due to qualify for the National tournament, in the North, Bowdon are on six points, Deeside Ramblers on four and Belper and Beeston both on three points with Khalsa Leamington and City of York on one and zero points respectively.
The picture in the South has Southgate on six points, Guildford on four, University of Bristol on four and Trojans on three. St. Albans and Fareham have yet to open their points account.