Men’s Hockey League Premier Division Review – 28 November 2021
Old Georgians ended Phase 1 of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, and head in to the winter break, in first place after a 2-0 home win over Surbiton on Sunday afternoon. Surbiton would have finished top themselves with a win, but an eighth minute goal from Chris Griffiths and a 25th minute goal from Lee Morton, both from open play, enabled Old Georgians to finish two points ahead of second placed Wimbledon, who had completed their fixtures the week before.
Surbiton dropped down to fourth after Hampstead & Westminster won 4-1 at Oxted to move up to third. Hampstead led 3-0 at half time, Matt Guise-Brown opening the scoring from a 16th minute penalty corner, Josh Kelly doubling the lead from open play on the half-hour mark and Shipperley adding another open play goal in the 34th minute. Nick Giles scored what proved to be a consolation for Oxted from the penalty spot in the 54th minute, but Shipperley struck again from open play with three minutes remaining to complete a comprehensive away win.
The defeat cost Oxted their much prized sixth place, East Grinstead timing their run to perfection to snatch Top Six qualification with three successive wins. The third and decisive win came at the expense of visitors Beeston, who were also in contention to qualify, but missed out after a 3-2 defeat in West Sussex. Kai Aichinger put Beeston ahead in the sixth minute from a penalty corner, only for Jamie Wallace to turn the match around with a 16th minute penalty corner and an open play goal two minutes later. Sam Apoola levelled in the 31st minute from open play to leave all to play for in the second half with the teams level at 2-2 at the interval, only for Wallace to score the winning goal from another penalty corner with just nine minutes to play.
The University of Exeter finally ended their run of 17 defeats in a row but still suffered heartbreak as they were denied a home win by the University of Durham, who salvaged a point in a 3-3 draw with a last minute penalty corner conversion.
Exeter had last avoided defeat on 22 February 2020 when they won 3-2 at Brooklands Manchester University, but in a topsy-turvy match, led 1-0 at half time courtesy of Charlie Taylor’s open play goal in the 20th minute, only to find themselves trailing 2-1 by the 43rd, Jakob Schmidt equalising for Durham in the 38th minute and Max Garner giving the visitors a 2-1 lead five minutes later, both goals also coming from open play.
In another twist, Rhys Bradshaw equalised from a 50th minute penalty corner and it seemed that Exeter were finally heading for that elusive win when Louis Ridge put the Devon students back in front with just a minute remaining. But Durham had the final say as they won a penalty corner at the end of the match and Schmidt duly converted to take a point back on their long journey home to the North-East.
The winter weather struck at Brooklands Manchester University where having had to rearrange a home game after Hampstead & Westminster had travel difficulties, they now have to rearrange their home fixture with Holcombe after Brooklands’ pitch was frozen.
Weekend Media Guide available here
|3||Hampstead & Westminster||10||7||2||1||28||18||10||23|
|9||University of Durham||10||2||1||7||11||37||-26||7|
|11||University of Exeter||10||0||1||9||15||38||-23||1|