Beeston go top as Surbiton suffer

Beeston scorer Richard Lawrence in action against Sevenoaks. Credit David Kissman - 480x320
The battle for play-off places was blown wide open in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division as long-time leaders Surbiton lost twice, allowing Beeston to move top.

In a dramatic turn of events Hampstead & Westminster scored three goals in the final three minutes of their game against Surbiton to take a 5-4 win at home on Sunday.

Kwan Browne opened the scoring for Hampstead from the penalty spot on 12 minutes before Surbiton pulled one back through Luke Taylor and then took the lead through Chris Grassick.

Matt Guise Brown levelled the scores for Hampstead just two minutes later before Alan Forsyth scored twice to give Surbiton a 4-2 lead.

With three minutes remaining Surbiton looked home and dry, but Browne tucked home his second stroke of the game on 68 minutes and a quick-fire double from Guise Brown saw him complete his hat-trick and claim three points for Hampstead.

This followed another loss for Surbiton on Saturday when a Richard Mantell hat-trick condemned them to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Reading, with Alan Forsyth scoring the consolation.

Surbiton, having lost several players on international duty with England at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, are now second while Reading and Wimbledon are both just two points behind with a game in hand.

Beeston went top after a 3-1 win over Sevenoaks with Richard Lawrence, Marius Gemmell and Chris Proctor all on target.

Reading made the most of their two games in two days. After their win over Surbiton on Saturday they went on to beat East Grinstead 7-3 on Sunday.

Tom Carson scored a hat-trick, while Ben Boon, James Carson, Owain Dolan Gray and Richard Mantell were on target, while Wesley Jackson, Simon Faulkner and Tony Wilson found the net for East Grinstead.

Simon Mantell’s goal kept Wimbledon in the hunt for a play-off berth in their 1-0 win against Holcombe.

Brooklands MU ensured their place in the top flight next season as they put six past Canterbury. Pete Cornell hit a brace with David Flanagan, Tom Russell, Oliver Clarke and Tom Lush also scoring.

Men’s Conference East
Leaders Oxted had to be content with a 2-2 draw at Old Loughtonians – and had Sam Driver to thank for a late goal which spared their blushes in the Men’s Conference East.

Harry Kempe and William Smith had put Old Loughtonians ahead following Robbert Schenk’s first half goal for Oxted, who now lead by just one point.

Second-placed Teddington were 4-3 winners over Chichester with Matt Daly scoring twice and Chris Seddon and Charles Bowren also on target.

Elsewhere Brighton & Hove were 3-2 winners over rivals Southgate, who missed a penalty stroke and hit the crossbar in a dramatic final four minutes.

Cambridge City drew 2-2 with Old Georgians in a match which saw both sides miss a penalty stroke. Richmond won 2-0 at home against West Herts who are now destined to finish bottom of the table.

Men’s Conference West
The University of Exeter fought back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 against Team Bath Buccaneers to stay top of the Men’s Conference West - but Cardiff & Met have a game in hand are now only two points behind.

Exeter took the lead through Conor Caplan after just eight minutes, but a goal from Matt Ming and then a double from Cameron Heald saw Bath go 3-1 up. However, late goals from Sam Hooper and Ed Matts saw the game finish all square.

Cardiff & Met now have the destiny of the title in their own hands after Jack Pritchard’s hat-trick saw them beat the University of Birmingham 3-2.

Team Bath Buccaneers were also in action on Saturday, winning 4-2 over Clifton Robinsons who also lost 8-0 to Olton & West Warwicks on Sunday.

Elsewhere Cheltenham beat Havant 3-2 and a Tom Brooks hat-trick saw Isca beat Fareham 4-3.

Men’s Conference North
Three goals in the last three minutes ensured a dramatic end to the Men’s Conference North clash between leaders University of Nottingham and hosts Deeside Ramblers, but it was the students who took the win 5-3.

They were 2-0 ahead with Mo Gandhi and James Hodgkinson scoring early on, but Deeside hit back with Chris Barber scoring either side of half time to draw level.

Hodgkinson’s second gave Nottingham some breathing space, and Luke Hudson’s 67th minute strike put them 4-2 ahead. But Ali Ghazanfar pulled one back for the Ramblers, while Tom Sorsby had the final word in the 69th minute for the leaders.

Elsewhere Andrew Webb’s last minute strike helped Loughborough Students to a 5-4 win over Leeds, while second-placed University of Durham were held to a goalless draw by Sheffield Hallam on Sunday.

Bowdon lost out 1-0 to the University of Durham in Saturday’s clash, but their 3-2 win over Doncaster on Sunday means Durham, Loughborough and Bowdon all have 31 points.

And in the clash of the bottom two, Preston threw themselves a lifeline with a 2-0 win over Cannock, both goals coming from Julian Lopez.

* The above photo shows Beeston scorer Richard Lawrence in action against Sevenoaks. Credit David Kissman.

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