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M1 To Face Old Georgians in MHL Premier Division Final


13th April 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men stand between Old Georgians and a hat-trick of Men's Hockey League titles when they meet at Sugden Road on Sunday at 1700.

Surbiton beat Hampstead & Westminster 4-1 in the first semi-final of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division Finals and Old Georgians beat Wimbledon 4-3 in the second semi-final to set up an Elmbridge derby in the final.

Both Surbiton and Old Georgians have won Euro Hockey League bronze medals: Surbiton in 2022 and Old Georgians at Easter and there is added spice as Surbiton are the only team to have lowered Old Georgians' colours this season, with a 3-2 win at St. George's College in September, since when Old Georgians have won 18 successive matches including a 4-2 win at Sugden Road in the reverse fixture in February.

Surbiton had beaten Hampstead by three goal margins in both meetings this season: 5-2 on the opening day of the season and 3-0 at Paddington Recreation Ground in March.

At Sugden Road in front of a packed crowd, Surbiton contrived to achieve the score in between, winning 4-1 to complete their third win of the season by a three goal margin.

Stuart Rushmere, who had scored against Wimbledon seven days earlier, again put Surbiton ahead, this time in the eighth minute from Surbiton's first penalty corner. Tim Nurse  doubled Surbiton's lead on the stroke of half time, before Josh Kelly replied for Hampstead to half Surbiton's advantage to 2-1 in the 41st minute.

Two minutes later, Gareth Furlong restored Surbiton's two goal lead from their second penalty corner and Struan Walker sealed the win from open play with five minutes to play.

The first semi-final can be watched back via the England Hockey TV channel on You Tube here

Hampstead's opponents in the third-place playoff will be Wimbledon who lost a thriller 4-3, although Old Georgians always had the advantage.

Old Georgians and Wimbledon had also met in the semi-finals in 2023 when the game ended goalless and Old Georgians won the shootout 4-3.

The meeting in 2024 was a complete contrast although the first goal didn't arrive until just before the end of the first quarter, Edward Carson opening the scoring from open play.

Tom Carson scored Old Georgians' second goal in the 26th minute and three minutes later when Liam Sanford gave the reigning champions a three goal lead, it seemed as if there would be no way back for Wimbledon.

The half time advantage could have been by four goals as Wimbledon goalkeeper Ore Ogunlana saved an Alan Forsyth penalty stroke in the 27th minute.

But last season's fourth-placed team had other ideas, pulling a goal back within seconds of the start of the third quarter through Ben Francis before Jack Waller reduced Old Georgians' lead to 3-2 in the 35th minute.

Sam Hiha made the score 4-2 to Old Georgians in the 39th minute but Sam Hooper's goal with seven minutes remaining gave Wimbledon hopes of a second successive semi-final shootout.

Wimbledon had eleven outfield players when Hooper scored as Ogunlana had been replaced with eight minutes to play, but Wimbledon couldn't find an equaliser and had to settle for the third-place playoff for the second successive year.

Old Georgians v Wimbledon can be watched back via the England Hockey TV channel on You Tube here

Hampstead take on Wimbledon at 1215 on Sunday, when the result could be up in the air as both teams won on their opponents' pitches this season. Hampstead won 3-2 at Wimbledon in October and Wimbledon won 5-0 at Hampstead in February.

More information about the MHL Premier Division Finals can be found at the England Hockey Altius website here

Tickets for Sunday can be bought here