Surbiton back on top as Beeston lose out to Brooklands MU

Goalscorer Alex Humphreys in action against Beeston. Credit David Kissman - 480x320
A point was enough for defending champions Surbiton to go into the winter break back at the top of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division as Beeston fell to a dramatic home defeat on Sunday.

The southwest Londoners had to settle for a point for the second week in a row after they were held 2-2 at home by local rivals Wimbledon.

Simon Mantell put the visitors ahead early before Gareth Furlong and Luke Noblett ensured the hosts had the lead at the break. But Ed Horler converted a penalty corner midway through the second to see the points shared.

That was enough though for Surbiton to reclaim first place as Beeston fell to a surprise 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Brooklands MU.

The visitors were two up at half time, Sam Perrin diving to turn in the opener on seven minutes before Oliver Clarke deflected home a penalty corner to double the lead.

Beeston hit back through Marius Gemmel but Brooklands MU goalkeeper Chris Scott made a string of fine saves to keep the hosts at bay before Alex Humphreys (pictured) capped off the impressive victory with a brace in the final minute.

Elsewhere in Saturday’s top-flight action, Reading moved third after claiming all three points in an entertaining 4-3 victory at Holcombe.

Robert Field opened the scoring inside the first 60 seconds for the hosts but, in a lively start, goals from Tom Carson and Lee Morton ensured Reading were in front after just nine minutes, a lead they would hold till the break.

Two goals in three minutes after the restart - Ben Boon’s ninth of the season and a Richard Mantell penalty corner - put the visitors in control and, despite a second half fight back from the hosts, Nicholas Bandurak netting his 12th of the campaign and a late Dan Webster effort, it was Reading that took the points.

East Grinstead picked up their first victory in five outings after a slender 1-0 home win over Hampstead & Westminster.

Simon Faulkner’s ninth of the season was the game’s only goal two minutes before half time, ending the visitors’ four game unbeaten streak.

Meanwhile the division’s bottom two, Sevenoaks and Canterbury, played out an exciting 3-3 draw in the all-Kent clash.

Sam Barrett and Michal Nowakowski had put Canterbury two up, but a brace from Duncan Parnis and one from Mike Barber looked to have given Sevenoaks the points.

However, 29-year-old Australian international Craig Boyne would have the last say, his goal three minutes from time earned Canterbury a share of the spoils, a draw doing neither side many favours in their respective battles against relegation.

Men’s Conference North
The University of Nottingham leapfrogged opponents Bowdon to return to the top of the Conference North after a 1-0 away win on Sunday, Sean Cicchi scoring the game’s only goal for the visitors.

Loughborough Students also leapfrogged their opponents to go second just a point behind after a 4-2 win at University of Durham, Matthew Ramshaw with a brace.

Leeds went fifth after an emphatic 6-1 victory over Preston in their ‘Roses’ clash, Ben Foster and Harry Lankfer both scoring two.

Sheffield Hallam made it three wins in four games to move off the bottom of the table, beating Doncaster 2-0 in a South Yorkshire derby.

Meanwhile, Deeside Ramblers and Cannock played out an intriguing 4-4 draw, Cannock squandering a three-goal lead before Kyle Gladwin rescued their first point in five games with a last-minute equaliser.

Men’s Conference East
A draw at Southgate was enough for Oxted to go top of the Men’s Conference East table, with former leaders Cambridge City being beaten 2-1 at home by Old Loughtonians.

Goals from Robbert Schenk, Oliver Whiteley and Chris Porter helped them take a point from their match at Southgate, for whom Simeon Bird scored twice and John Sterlini added another.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Fred Whitfield starred as Old Loughtonians claimed only their third win of the season so far by defeating Cambridge City - Kevin Ross and Max Sydenham scored the goals whilst Whitfield denied two penalty strokes with the scores level.

Elsewhere, Brighton and Hove moved up to fourth after winning 4-2 at home against Teddington, while Richmond were 4-1 winners against Chichester.

Peter Corbridge scored twice for West Herts as they drew 4-4 with Old Georgians – their first point of the season. Aaron Mitchell and Harry Benjamin scored their other goals.

Men’s Conference West
The University of Exeter go into the break at the top of the Conference West despite falling to only their second defeat of the campaign, 3-2 at home to third place University of Birmingham.

Jolyon Morgan scored two and Daniel Jowett the winner for the visitors after Sam Hooper’s first half double had put the hosts 2-1 up.

It was a good week for the chasing pack, with Cardiff & Met closing the gap to three points after they came from behind to beat Clifton Robinsons 4-1, Jack Pritchard netting two.

Matthew Cox scored twice as Havant defeated Team Bath Buccaneers 3-0 to go fourth, whilst Olton & West Warwicks twice came from behind to earn a 3-3 draw at Fareham.

Meanwhile, Craig Graham and Sam Carter scored in the final minutes as Cheltenham won for only the second time this season, a 2-0 home victory over Isca moving them off the bottom of the table.

* The above photo shows Brooklands MU’s double scorer, Alex Humphreys. Credit: David Kissman.

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