Men’s Hockey League Preview – 9/10 April 2022
Surbiton and Wimbledon meet at Sugden Road on Saturday night when Surbiton need to win to keep their hopes of another season in Europe alive. Wimbledon, holding a five point advantage of their local rivals with just two games remaining, need just a draw to join champions, Old Georgians in Europe next season.
Both matches between Surbiton and Wimbledon ended in draws earlier this season, Surbiton needing two late goals from Luke Taylor to snatch a 2-2 draw at home in November, whilst in the return fixture at Raynes Park High School, it was Wimbledon who mounted a comeback, a David Condon brace and Ed Horler’s late equaliser earning a thrilling 5-5 draw.
Also on Saturday night, Hampstead & Westminster host East Grinstead as they try and hold off Holcombe for a fourth place finish. East Grinstead, who pipped Oxted to the final Top Six place, have struggled in the second half of the season, earning a single point from their last eight games. East Grinstead have lost their last five games and Hampstead haven’t had the best of form either, winning one and losing five of their last six games, the win coming in a 4-1 victory at East Grinstead in March. Hampstead also beat East Grinstead in their first meeting of the season, 4-2 in London.
On Sunday, Old Georgians head to Holcombe, where they won 2-1 in October. In the reverse fixture in March, Old Georgians put Holcombe to the sword, winning 8-2 as their full attacking potential was on display. Holcombe are battling with Hampstead for fourth place but could find the final positions all but decided if they lost to Old Georgians and Hampstead beat East Grinstead.
In the Bottom 5, the relegation battle could take another twist after Durham University lost 2-1 at Brooklands Manchester University to remain in jeopardy. The University of Exeter, who seemed to be in the ascendancy after two wins over Durham, were sent back to the bottom of the table after drawing at Oxted, whilst Durham were beating Beeston. Exeter return after their second bye week to host Beeston for the first time in Devon this season after losing twice in Nottingham, 3-1 in November and 3-2 in February. Exeter, two points behind Durham with a game in hand, can move back off the bottom if they can beat a Beeston team which has lost their last three games, 2-1 against Brooklands, 1-0 against Durham and 4-0 at home to Oxted last weekend.
Durham have their second bye week as Brooklands visit Oxted, the teams having drawn 4-4 in Surrey in November before Oxted stunned the Manchester club by winning 6-2 in the North West in March. Brooklands win over Durham last weekend moved them a point above Beeston into eighth place with a game in hand.