Men’s Hockey League Preview & Media Guide – 26 September 2021
Surbiton face an intriguing trip to Oxted on Sunday, having surprisingly lost there 1-0 in what turned out to be both teams’ last league match of 2020-21.
Oxted’s scorer that evening was Tim Guise-Brown and having moved to Holcombe for the 2021-22 season, was in a unique position last Sunday as his new club were winning 4-3 at the end of the third quarter. However, a stunning fourth-quarter comeback robbed Guise-Brown of the achievement of being on different winning teams against the same club in successive matches as Surbiton won 6-4 in a goal-fest.
Last weekend, Oxted won 2-1 at local rivals East Grinstead for their first-ever away win in the Premier Division and will go into the rematch with Surbiton with confidence as Owen Williamson may prove to be a worthy replacement after a brace of penalty corner conversions.
East Grinstead face a daunting trip to Hampstead & Westminster, where they haven’t won since October 2014, when they came out on top 6-3. Since then, Hampstead have won three of the last five encounters including a 5-1 victory in October 2020. Only a 2-2 draw in October 2017 and a goalless draw in 2015-16 has interrupted Hampstead’s run since the West Sussex club’s last success in Central London.
Hampstead were cruising 3-0 at Wimbledon at half time in last week’s match, but weathered a second half comeback to retain the points with a 3-2 win.
Wimbledon head to Beeston who were taught a lesson by Old Georgians last weekend, returning to Nottingham with a 4-0 defeat against their name. Since Wimbledon were promoted from the Conference East in 2012-13, they have won four of seven matches away to Beeston with the home club winning two and drawing one. Beeston won the last time, 3-2 in 2019-20 and the team’s only meeting in 2020-21 came at Wimbledon where the teams drew 3-3.
Old Georgians have this week off.
The University of Exeter start their campaign this week and make the long trip to Brooklands Manchester University, where they have won twice and lost once in three visits.
Since their return to the top flight in 2018-19, Exeter have won on both occasions in the North West, 3-1 in March 2019 and 3-2 in February 2020. The only other Premier Division meeting was back in September 2009, when Brooklands won 1-0. Brooklands also beat Exeter 1-0 in the opening match of the 2011-12 Promotion Tournament in Olton and ultimately replaced Exeter in the Premier Division after Exeter had finished ninth.
The final match-up between Holcombe and the University of Durham will see the teams meet for the first time. Durham made history with their 2-1 win over Brooklands as it was their first-ever victory in the Premier Division. Durham were promoted to the national league when the Conferences were introduced in 2008-09 and remained a member of the Conference North until Division One North was introduced as the second tier, and then proceeded to finish top of Division One at the first attempt and won promotion with Oxted after the proposed playoff system was cancelled after a 17 game regular season.
Holcombe are yet to reach their full potential in the Premier Division even though they finished top of the Premier Division table at the first attempt in 2015-16, only to lose the semi-final to Wimbledon after going through the regular season unbeaten.