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M1 Qualify For League Finals Weekend After Shootout Drama


23rd March 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men joined Wimbledon in the semi-finals of the League Finals tournament, but had to secure an extra point via a shootout after being held to a 2-2 home draw by Southgate in Pool B.

Southgate bounced back from a 7-3 defeat at Wimbledon last week to battle hard for a point before Surbiton proved too strong in the shootout.

The match can be watched back via the Surbiton Hockey Club channel on You Tube here

Southgate took the lead in the sixth minute, Will Calnan setting up Matt Ramshaw's tap-in. 

The thirteenth minute proved not to be unlucky for Surbiton on the scorer as Struan Walker, wearing shirt number 13, smashed the ball into the goal after Gareth Furlong broke up a Southgate attack and Rob Farrington crossed from the right for Walker to level with his eighth goal of the season against the London club.

The game's first penalty corner wasn't awarded until the half hour mark when Surbiton were grateful to James Mazarelo for an excellent save to ensure that Southgate didn't go back in front. Two minutes later, Archie Foster couldn't convert the visitors' second award, the teams going into the break on level terms.

Similarly, Southgate appreciated Allan Dick's save from Luke Taylor as Surbiton had their first penalty corner award early in the third quarter. Teague Marcano was also denied by Mazarelo in the 41st minute as both teams struggled to break the deadlock.

Taylor was denied by Dick for a second time in the 58th minute from Surbiton's fifth penalty corner as Southgate's defence held firm.

Southgate's hard work seemed to be in vain with eight minutes to play when Ben Park scored from close range, but their determination was rewarded a minute later when Teague Marcano received the ball from the right to score from wide of the left post and make the score 2-2.

With no further scoring, Surbiton faced their first shootout since beating Wimbledon last season to finish top of their pool. Going first, Walker found the net to put Surbiton 1-0 up, only for Calnan to immediately level.

Stuart Rushmere found the backboard to give Surbiton a 2-1 advantage which they kept after Rohan Bhuhi's effort was cleared by Mazarelo.

Rob Farrington swivelled before smacking the ball against the backboard and extend Surbiton's lead to 3-1 before Marcano also failed to score for Southgate.

Conor Williamson finished the all-important fourth shuffle to give Surbiton a 4-1 shootout win and the extra point.

Wimbledon beat Oxted 1-0, Ben Francis scoring the only goal in the 60th minute to give Wimbledon their second win and lead the table on six points. Surbiton are on five points with Surbiton hosting Wimbledon on 6 April to decide which team will top the pool.

Southgate are on one point with Oxted still looking for their first point.

In Pool A, Old Georgians are on six points after a 2-1 home win over Hampstead & Westminster. Josh Kelly put Hampstead in front but Alan Forsyth scored twice in four minutes for the reigning champions.

Holcombe rebounded from their 1-0 home defeat to Hampstead to beat Beeston 5-2 in Kent. Nick Bandurak's brace together with goals from Tim Guise-Brown, Tom Russell and Alex Pendle were enough to keep last season's finalists in contention for qualification. 

Holcombe go to Old Georgians in a repeat of last season's final and Beeston visit Hampstead on 6 April.

In the relegation playoffs, the University of Nottingham are relegated after a 1-1 home draw with Cardiff & Met. Louis Tipper gave Nottingham the lead, only for Tom Wood to equalise. The result also means that Stourport will be promoted regardless of what happens on Sunday as Nottingham's second team cannot be promoted as two Nottingham teams would be in Division One.

Reading are still alive but will need to overturn an eleven goal inferior goal difference if they beat the University of Nottingham on 6 April and Cardiff & Met lose at home to East Grinstead. Reading won 4-3 at East Grinstead, Tom Minall scoring twice supported by Monty Neave and Ben Mackey. James Smith had given East Grinstead the lead with Max Lowrey and Smith scoring in the 56th and 57th minutes respectively to give the Berkshire club a few anxious moments.