Men’s Hockey League Premier Division Review – 26 September 2021
Surbiton and Hampstead & Westminster are the only teams with maximum points after the first two rounds of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Surbiton followed up their 6-4 home win over Holcombe with another come from behind victory, this time 5-2 at Oxted, where they lost 1-0 in the last game of the 2020-21 season.
Max Gilbert gave Oxted a 14th-minute lead, before Gareth Furlong’s 27th-minute penalty corner conversion and James Gall’s 33rd-minute open play goal turned the match around for Surbiton.
Two penalty corner conversions from Luke Taylor in the 51st and 60th minutes extended Surbiton’s lead to 4-1 before Jordan Turnbull pulled a goal back with six minutes to play, also from a penalty corner. Nick Park scored Surbiton’s fifth goal in the 67th minute.
Oxted had won at East Grinstead in their opening match and the West Sussex club fell to defeat a second time as Hampstead won 4-2 at Paddington Recreation Ground. However, Hampstead had to do it the hard way, coming from behind twice after Louis Gittens gave East Grinstead the in the 13th and 20th minutes. Rupert Shipperley equalised the first time in the 17th minute and Matt Ramshaw levelled in the 25th minute, all four goals coming from open play.
Matt Guise-Brown gave Hampstead the lead for the first time from a 37th minute penalty stroke and Will Calnan sealed the win in the 51st minute from open play, Hampstead beating East Grinstead at home for the fifth time in six seasons.
Beeston and Wimbledon were both looking bounce back after defeats by Old Georgians and Hampstead respectively and it was the South London club who won the day at Nottingham Hockey Centre with a 3-2 victory. Wimbledon seemed to be in control by the 39th minute, leading 3-0 after Ben Francis opened the scoring in the ninth minute, Arthur Hughes doubled the lead in the 18th minute and Rhys Smith added a third in the 39th. Kai Alchinger reduced Beeston’s deficit to 3-1 in the 49th minute and Eddie Harper made it 3-2 in the penultimate minute, but Wimbledon held on for the win.
The University of Exeter began their campaign at Brooklands Manchester University but returned pointless to Devon after losing 2-1. Brooklands made a lightning start with David Flanagan’s first-minute strike, but Max Cowrey converted a penalty corner to level three minutes later. The winning goal came in the 54th minute, courtesy of Alex Holmes as Exeter maintained their record of having lost all four opening matches in the top flight since they were promoted in 2017-18.
Brooklands had lost 2-1 at the University of Durham, who travelled to Kent to play Holcombe and were beaten 3-0. Holcombe, still recovering from Surbiton’s fourth-quarter comeback last week, struck early through Craig Wild in the third minute. Nick Bandurak added a second in the 44th minute and Tom Russell clinched the win in the 66th minute.