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M1 Win 3-0 At Hampstead & Westminster


9th March 2024

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Men finished second in the Men's Hockey League Premier Division thanks to a 3-0 win at Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday night.

Surbiton finished six points behind Old Georgians and three points ahead of third-placed Wimbledon after Old Georgians beat Wimbledon 7-2 at St. George's College.

For the second season running, the top five was exactly the same with Holcombe finishing fourth and Hampstead & Westminster finishing fifth, just as in 2022-23.

The predicted rain didn't arrive at Paddington Recreation Ground, but although Hampstead mounted an attack after just 24 seconds, both teams couldn't find their rhythm in the first quarter.

The momentum started to shift towards Surbiton as they forced the first penalty corner towards the end of the quarter, Toby Reynolds-Cotterill making a fine save from Luke Taylor.

Early in the second quarter, Surbiton forced a second penalty corner which ultimately led to the opening goal, Gareth Furlong's shot illegally stopped in front of goal resulting in a penalty stroke award.

Taylor duly slotted the stroke to Reynolds-Cotterill's right in the 20th minute to put Surbiton ahead. Having broken the deadlock, Surbiton came close to adding a quick second goal, James Gall denied by the right post to the home supporters' relief.

Surbiton led 1-0 at half time but doubled their lead in the 41st minute, Josh Redstone's pass neatly deflected by James Gall whilst sliding towards goal in a brilliantly executed move.

The passion of a London derby exploded in the final twenty minutes as Hampstead's Jolyon Morgan was shown a yellow card with Surbiton's Redstone, Louis Gittens and Conor Williamson also seeing yellow, but in spite of the teams being short-handed at various times, Surbiton scored their third goal with five minutes remaining, a trademark Taylor drag-flick rebounding off the backboard to maintain his side's consistent record over Hampstead in the Premier Division in recent years.

Old Georgians had to come from behind against Wimbledon, Ian Sloan scoring in the second minute from the penalty spot. It's the fourth match in a row that Sloan has converted a penalty stroke for Wimbledon.

Wimbledon still led 1-0 at half time before Matt Brown converted two penalty corners to put Old Georgians 2-1 ahead. Jonathan Lankfer equalised in the 49th minute before Old Georgians scored five goals in fourteen minutes, James Carson scoring twice with Elliot Messem, Edward Carson and Alan Forsyth also scoring as Old Georgians were on fire.

Holcombe won 3-0 at Southgate, Alex Pendle, Tim Guise-Brown and Louis Duprez securing the win.

In the Lower Six, Oxted joined Beeston in the League Finals after a 3-1 home win over local rivals, East Grinstead. Jamie Batten, Chris Porter and Bradley Sherwood put Oxted 3-0 up, Simon Faulkner's penalty corner conversion proving to be a consolation.

Beeston's 5-3 defeat to the University of Nottingham across the Nottingham Hockey Centre car park enabled Oxted to finish seventh, above Beeston.  Tim Ehret, Will Gurney-Champion, Luis Cuttle and Ollie Lander's brace gave the students bragging rights in the East Midlands. Ben Collinson replied for Beeston with Jamie Rawlings scoring twice.

Nottingham also lifted themselves off the bottom of the Premier Division table as Reading lost 5-1 at home to Cardiff & Met. Ben Hooper gave Reading the lead, but Jack Pritchard and Charlie Hunte both scored twice for the Welsh side with Tom Wood also on target to complete a stunning comeback.

The League Finals will see the eight qualifiers split into two four-team pools with the top two teams qualifying for the League Finals weekend on 13/14 April at Surbiton HC. Fixtures starting next week will be confirmed shortly.

On Sunday, Richmond clinched the Division One South title with a 3-2 victory at Canterbury to earn promotion to the Premier Division for the first time. Richmond have earned back-to-back promotions after winning the Conference East on goal difference from Spencer last season.

Bowdon will also be in the Premier Division next season for the first time since the 2011-12 season following their 6-0 home win over Cambridge City to claim the Division One North championship.