With the return of hockey to all seven divisions of the Men’s National League, there have been big results and movement in the tables.
World of Hockey News looks at the talking points from week 6.
In our “Match of the week”, Old Georgians welcomed Hampstead and Westminster at St Georges College, with the home side looking to maintain their 100% start to the season and keep the pressure on league leaders Surbiton. A frantic start saw Alexnder Fraser pick up a green card in the opening 60 seconds, Sam Ward was on the scoresheet in the fifth, Will Calnan equalized in the sixth and James Sutcliffe was on the wrong foot in the seventh! With one goal and one card apiece, the match settled as the two teams traded chances and goalscoring opportunities. The visitors found the breakthrough in the 34th minute when Stephen Kelly fired a penalty corner to give Hampstead the half-time lead. Trailing their opponents 1-2, Ashley Jackson equalized his side from a penalty corner scored in the 42nd minute of play. Proving to be the most important target in ensuring the Old Georgians maintain their unbeaten run, although Hampstead would end the host’s winning streak.
Leaders Surbiton hosted While reading at Sugden Road for the 23rd time in the Premier Division era. Ben Park opened the scoring for the hosts in the 4th minute before Toby Heywood-Bourne equalized in the 10th. With the scores remaining 1-1 until half-time, there was a flurry of second-half goals that separated the teams. Nick Park (40) and Gareth Furlong (42-PC) with a two-minute salvo, and Luke Taylor (48-PC) extended the lead even further. Monty Neave pulled one back for Reading in the 68th minute before Taylor grabbed his second on the final whistle from a penalty corner to give the Surrey-based side a 5-2 victory.
Wimbledon moved up to second place with a home win Beeston, now the South West London results pattern of a home win followed by a draw. With a game less on leaders Surbiton, Wimbledon are now the only team with a 100% record in the Premier Division.
Manchester Brooklands University and Oxte met in another nine-goal thriller that followed the opposing team’s path, repeating the result when the teams met in April. Oxted took a three-goal lead in 22 minutes with goals from Chris Webster (11), Nick Giles (18) and Owen Williamson (22-PS) before Brooklands had the chance to reply. Peter Flanagan (25-PC, 28-PC, 37-PC) got his side back in the game with a 12-minute penalty corner hat-trick before Williamson (41-PC) got his second, and Lucas Ward ( 43) extended the lead. another two minutes later for Oxted. A flurry of cards saw the visitors down to nine men with minutes remaining, Stefan Ray Hills (67) cutting the deficit to one, with Oxted hanging on for a vital 4-5 victory against the lowest-seeded side.
Holcombe maintained their resurgence as they traveled to East Grinstead with an impoverished side. Drawing players from their second XI, Louis Parker (24), tasting Premier League hockey for the first time, and Tim Guise-Brown (35-PC) were on the scoresheet for the visitors, who will host Wimbledon in the meetings next week.
In the college battle of the Premier Division, the University of Nottingham welcomed the University of Exeter at the Nottingham Hockey Centre. Going into the match level with points and key players missing on both sides, a win for either side would see them climb into the mid-table battle. Archie Foster (23) and Isaac Forrant (30-PC) gave Nottingham a 2-0 lead in the second quarter before Jacob Poynton (34) pulled one back at halftime. Peter Caughey (50) scored a third for Nottingham before Connor Sign (53-PC) completed the scoring for Exeter, who couldn’t make a comeback in the dying minutes of the game.
In Division One North, the five-point tie at the top of the division was reduced to just three teams as Durham University and Bowdon fell in defeats. City of Cambridge moved up to third after winning 1-2 at Bowdon, overtaking Durham University, who lost 0-1 at home to Loughborough students.
The battle atop the table in Division One South did not disappoint as Old Loughtonians hosted a table-topping south gate. Southgate started strong, with three unanswered goals and a lead they would never relinquish thanks to Matt Ramshaw (12), Jose Manuel Hurtado (16) and Teague Marcano (22-PC). Euan Gilmour (39) scored for the hosts before Ramshaw added his second and Southgate’s fourth to make it 1-4, before a brace from Harvey Edwards (42, 70-PC), the second from between them goals in the final game of the match but it was too little too late for the hosts as Southgate came away 3-4 winners.
It was a hard day at the office for Hampstead and Westminster 2‘s in the Eastern Conference as leaders richmond hit the bottom side for six. Peterborough City saw their winning streak ended by Norwich City in a 1-1 draw in the Conference Midlands, with Matt Porter saving a point for his side three minutes from time. An important victory for Brooklands University of Manchester 2It’s finish North Didsbury sees them come out of the bottom two after a 2-0 home win. Leeds cemented their place at the top of the table with a dominating 9-0 win over Ben Rydding.
isca climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 2-3 away win over previous point guards the University of Exeter 2‘s. A victory for Chichester versus Havant also sees them climb up the rankings, pushing the University of Exeter 2 into third place.
For a full breakdown of league tables, visit the Men’s Hockey League section HERE
Image by Graeme Wilcockson