Men’s Hockey League Preview – 13 March 2022
Men’s Hockey League Premier Division leaders Old Georgians welcome Holcombe to fortress St. George’s College on Sunday as they look to extend their already formidable eight point lead further.
Old Georgians have only lost once this season, 2-0 at Wimbledon and face an in-form Holcombe team which has not lost on the field of play since October, when Old Georgians won 2-1 in Kent. Since that defeat Holcombe have won seven games and drawn two and suffered a defeat off the pitch when Hampstead & Westminster were awarded a 5-0 victory after Holcombe had goalkeeper concerns.
Only Oxted and Hampstead & Westminster have broken through the Old Georgians defence on their own pitch, but with Nick Bandurak already having plundered 13 goals this season, Holcombe will be confident that they can become the third team to score at Old Georgians.
Second-placed Wimbledon broke three points clear of Surbiton after Surbiton lost 3-0 at Holcombe and Wimbledon won 4-1 at Hampstead & Westminster. Wimbledon have the opportunity to pull further clear and cement their hopes of a European place when Surbiton visit Raynes Park High School on Saturday night. Surbiton have won on their last three visits to Wimbledon, but only a last gasp equaliser denied Wimbledon all three points at Sugden Road in Phase One, Wimbledon having to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Holcombe edged Hampstead & Westminster into fifth place on goal difference and Hampstead visit East Grinstead, all but assured of sixth place on Saturday night. Hampstead ran out 4-2 winners when the teams met in London in September and won 6-1 on their last trip to West Sussex in March 2020.
Durham University suffered an immense setback in their battle to stay in the Premier Division as the University of Exeter won 9-0 in Durham and this week, they can only watch as Exeter attempt to draw level with them on seven points at home to relegation rivals, Brooklands Manchester University.
Victory for Brooklands would be a very big step in their own preservation and they beat Exeter in the North-West, 2-1 back in September. Exeter haven’t beaten Brooklands in Devon since 2010, but meetings have been few and far between with Brooklands winning in 2018 and 2019.
Beeston and Oxted, who should both be confident of avoiding the drop, meet for the first time in the national league in Surrey. Their first ever meeting in Nottingham saw Beeston win 3-1 after going 1-0 down.