Champs Surbiton make winning start

Mark Gleghorne celebrates a goal for Beeston. Credit David Kissman. - 450

Reigning champions Surbiton started their defence of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division title in confident fashion with a 6-2 win at Canterbury.

Alan Forsyth scored 20 league goals last term and his excellent form showed no signs of stopping as he hit an opening day hat trick.

Luke Taylor, Dave Beckett and Lewis Prosser were amongst the scorers for the visitors who led 5-0 after 39 minutes, before strikes from Craig Boyne and Michal Nowakowski offered some resistance for Canterbury.

Elsewhere, Beeston and Wimbledon had to settle for a point apiece after they drew 1-1.

Wimbledon were league leaders last season before losing out in dramatic style in the play-off final, but took a second half lead thanks to an Iain Lewers penalty stroke.

Beeston hit back just six minutes later, Mark Gleghorne (pictured) converting a penalty corner to open his account for the new season and earn the hosts a share of the spoils.

Sevenoaks’ first ever game in the top flight ended in defeat as they went down 4-1 at home to Reading.

Four goals in 17 second half minutes from Ben Francis, Kiran Patel, Owain Dolan Gray and Ben Boon put the visitors in control, before the prolific Andrew Ross converted a consolation penalty corner in the final minute.

Hampstead & Westminster continued on from their first ever top four finish last season with a 4-0 triumph over Brooklands MU.

Rupert Shipperley and Sam French gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at the break before Stephen Dowds wrapped up the scoring with a second half double.

Meanwhile, East Grinstead saw their home clash against Holcombe postponed.

Men’s Conference North
Leeds made a winning start to life in the Conference North as they ran out 3-2 winners at home to Cannock.

Sam Apoola, Danny Mills and Martin Sutherland were all on the scoresheet as the hosts came from two goals down to claim the points.

The University of Nottingham won 4-2 at Preston, Bertie Mortimer and Sean Cicchi amongst the scorers.

Loughborough Students claimed victory after their relegation from the Premier Division last season, winning 2-1 at Deeside Ramblers.

Hugh Wickert converted a 58th minute penalty corner to help Bowdon to a 2-1 win over Sheffield Hallam who had Scott Bristowe sent off, whilst Doncaster claimed a point in a 1-1 draw at the University of Durham.

Men’s Conference East
Oxted took all three points in the game of the day in the Conference East, snatching a 5-4 win at Brighton and Hove.

Will Jackson and Joe Naughalty both scored a brace for the hosts, Naughalty’s second tying the game with two minutes to go, but Oxted took the win thanks to a Tim Deakin penalty stroke a minute from time.

Old Loughtonians made a winning start to their season, Jeremy Hopkins and Shane Martin scoring the goals in a 2-1 triumph at West Herts.

Southgate secured a comfortable 6-1 win at home against Old Georgians, Tyler Sundeen, John Sterlini and Kit Cutter amongst the six different scorers.

Elsewhere, Chichester defeated Richmond 3-2 despite a brace from Jordan Hussell and Cambridge City against Teddington finished all square.

Men’s Conference West
Team Bath Buccaneers missed out in the promotion play off last season, but came from behind on Saturday to claim a 4-2 opening day home victory against Fareham in the Conference West.

Jamie Rawlings and Alex Boxall had put the visitors 2-1 up after Harry Skinner’s opener, but second half goals from Sam Anderson, Peter Scott and Adam Croutear gave Team Bath the points.

Duncan Scott and Ed Matts were amongst the scorers as the University of Exeter won 4-1 at the University of Birmingham.

Maciej Janiszewski scored six minutes from time to earn newcomers Havant an impressive point in a 1-1 draw at Cardiff & Met.

Elsewhere, Ben Mackey scored the winner as Cheltenham defeated Clifton Robinsons 2-1 whilst Martin Ebbage scored the fastest goal of the day, opening the scoring in the first minute in Olton & West Warwicks’ 4-2 win at Isca.

* The attached photo shows Beeston’s Mark Gleghorne celebrating a goal against Wimbledon. Credit: David Kissman.

* Full results, table and fixtures from the Men's Hockey League are available here.