M1 Beat Southgate 4-0
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men warmed up for next Saturday's top of the table clash with Old Georgians with a 4-0 home win over Southgate on Saturday evening.
Surbiton continued where they left off at the end of Stage One, securing their ninth league win in succession to remain locked together with Old Georgians on 33 points with their rival Elmbridge club's goal difference advantage reduced to one following Holcombe's 3-2 defeat at St. George's College.
Holcombe and Wimbledon, who won 5-0 at Hampstead & Westminster are both six points adrift of the top two.
The Surbiton v Southgate match can be watched back via the Surbiton Hockey Club channel on You Tube here
Surbiton's visit to Southgate Hockey Centre in October had seen a goal fest with Surbiton coming out on top 7-3, but the reverse fixture was a calmer affair with Southgate trailing 1-0 at half time, Struan Walker, who had scored four goals in the 7-3 win, opening the scoring after running into position to the left of the circle in anticipation of receiving a free hit from outside the 23 metre area before smashing the ball past visiting goalkeeper, Anton Van Loggerenberg in the 15th minute.
The second quarter was scoreless, but Surbiton doubled their lead two minutes into the third quarter, Luke Taylor's drag-flick ending up inside the right post with his eleventh goal of the season.
In the dying seconds of the third quarter, Walker scored his second goal of the game following a penetrating run and pass by Nick Park enabling Walker to finish superbly and raise his arms in celebration once again.
Surbiton's fourth goal saw Walker complete his hat-trick, completing an end to end move starting in the home side's own 23 metre area, progressing down the left sideline before a stunning aerial was launched cross pitch into the right of the circle with Walker getting the final touch to a wonderful team goal.
But for a disallowed goal in the third quarter when Surbiton led 2-0, Walker would have matched his four goal haul in the first fixture, but Southgate failed to score in a Premier Division match for the first time this season and Surbiton goalkeeper James Mazarelo helped keep his side's fifth clean sheet in 12 league matches.
Surbiton's lone defeat came at the expense of Holcombe and the Kent club gave Old Georgians a battle, coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the end of three quarters thanks to goals from Tom O'Keeffe and Alex Pendle. However Lee Morton scored the winning goal at the start of the fourth quarter after Matt Brown had scored in the first half and Alan Forsyth had scored a second goal five minutes into the third quarter.
Wimbledon led 4-0 at Hampstead & Westminster at half time, Euan Gilmour, Rhys Bradshaw, Duncan Scott and Sam Hooper all finding the net. Ben Francis added the fifth in the third quarter to complete a convincing victory.
In the Lower Six, 3-2 was a popular away result as Reading won at Beeston and East Grinstead won at Cardiff & Met by that scoreline.
Reading were cruising at 3-0 with ten minutes left thanks to two goals from Ben Hooper after Michael Chapman gave them the lead, but two late goals from Henry Croft were not quite enough to snatch a last ditch point.
Cardiff & Met scored first through Ioan Wall and last through Jack Pritchard, but two penalty corner conversions from Hugh Pembroke and Max Lowrey and Simon Faulkner's penalty stroke ensured that the three points were heading back to West Sussex.
The University of Nottingham ended a run of eleven successive defeats and were on course for a win at Oxted, but had to settle for a precious point in a 2-2 draw. Peter Caughey opened the scoring for Nottingham only for Michael Royden-Turner to level. Ed Brice restored Nottingham's lead but a last minute penalty corner goal by Guy Morgan denied Nottingham the win and earned Oxted the point.
Surbiton meet Old Georgians at Sugden Road next Saturday at 1800, but there will only be two Top Six fixtures in the Men's Hockey League because Wimbledon will be in Vienna to take part in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup after winning the Super Sixes title last year. Wimbledon's scheduled fixture with Holcombe has been rearranged for 29 February.