Preview: Men's Hockey League final and play-offs!

Surbiton men
Wimbledon, Beeston, Surbiton and Hampstead and Westminster will all battle it out for the Men's Hockey League title this weekend at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre!

Tickets to the finals and the play-offs are still both available here! With so much to be decided it's not to be missed!

Wimbledon v Hampstead & Westminster
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre (10.30am)

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Wimbledon
Last year’s finalists Wimbledon pulled off a remarkable run to surge to the top of the Men’s Hockey Premier Division on the final weekend of the season. Having not won any of their first five fixtures the two-time champions only dropped two points across the remainder of the season – winning each of their final eight games – as they charged to the top of the league. Once again they boast a squad full of talent, including England captains Phil Roper and Ian Sloan, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Henry Weir and Scotland’s Gordon McIntyre to name but a few. Expect them to give it all to take home a third title in four years.

Hampstead & Westminster
Wins in each of their final four league games propelled Hampstead & Westminster into the semi-final spot in place of Reading, a run which included a stunning 5-4 win over last year’s champions Surbiton. Having been defeated at the final four stage last year the London-based side will be hoping to go at least one further this time round. Not only do they boast the league’s deadliest corner taker in Matt Guise Brown – with 18 of his 19 goals this season coming from the set piece – but also Harry Martin, the England international having recently won bronze on the Gold Coast. Highly rated Will Calnan will also take to the pitch alongside 40-year-old fan favourite Kwan Browne.

Surbiton v Beeston
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre (12.45pm)

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Surbiton
Following their incredible performance in last year’s final – coming from 3-0 down with 10 minutes to play to beat Wimbledon on penalties – Surbiton will be hoping to repeat their heroics and secure a second successive League Finals win. The league’s top scorers with 69 in total – 26 of which came from the stick of Scotland and GB international Alan Forsyth – have been involved in some classic games this year, including a 5-4 win over Beeston. With a squad boasting the likes of Forsyth, Chris Grassick, Wales captain Lewis Prosser and Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallists Brendan Creed, James Gall, Harry Gibson and David Goodfield they will be looking to entertain the crowds once again.

Beeston
After just missing out on a place in last year’s League Finals weekend, Beeston will be looking to win their first Premier Division title since 2013/14. It certainly has been a rock and roll season for The Bees, who spent much of it scoring goals for fun while battling with Surbiton at the top of the league. Sam Ward was once again their talisman, notching up 14 strikes, and he will go into the weekend in the best possible form, having finished top of the goalscoring charts at the Commonwealth Games. Fellow Gold Coast stars Ollie Willars, Mark Gleghorne and Adam Dixon will also take to the pitch alongside a host of exciting young talent including Nottingham Trent University captain Chris Proctor.


Play-offs

Following on from their ninth-placed finish in the Premier Division, Sevenoaks will be looking to secure a second straight season in the top flight but will come up against strong challengers in the three Conference winners Oxted, the University of Nottingham and the University of Exeter.

It was a tough first season at the top for the Kent-based outfit as they only picked up one win and shipped 83 goals, but an impressive 3-3 draw with Holcombe in February was enough to ensure they finished above Canterbury and earn a second shot at avoiding relegation.

On the other hand Oxted had a superb season, securing their place in the Play-Offs with a match to spare and going unbeaten in their last seven games, winning six. They were also the highest scoring team across each of the Men’s Hockey Leagues, racking up an impressive 72 in the Conference East with Robbert Schenk and Sam Driver claiming nearly half between themselves.

The University of Exeter boast an identical end-of-season record as they topped a tough Conference West league that included Cardiff & Met and the University of Birmingham. Penalty corner specialist Sam Hooper led their charge with aplomb, notching 17 goals in just 14 games and will be hungry to add to his total.

The University of Nottingham will also go into the Play-Offs on the back of some impressive form having not lost any of their last 10 league games as they pipped Loughborough Students’ to the Conference North title. GB EDP squad members Tom Sorsby and Joshua Pavis are the standout names in a squad that included 15 goalscorers across the season.