Oxted taking positives from round 5 thriller

Oxted taking positives from round 5 thriller
(Image credit - Theresa Waight Photography)

It was goals galore last weekend, with just three matches yielding 26 goals – including a rip-roaring 10-6 scoreline between Old Georgians and Oxted. The fact this match was streamed online meant that hockey fans everywhere were able to enjoy the goal feast.

Oxted fired six goals past Old Georgians but conceding ten meant the points went the other way. So this week their Head Coach Nick Giles will be hoping his team concede fewer while still finding the net.

The last time a losing side scored six goals in the Premier Division was 2012, when East Grinstead lost to Beeston 8-6. It is not a record Oxted will be celebrating, but Giles is determined to look at the positives.

“There are so many positives for us to take from the game,” he said. “Many of the things we talked about before the game we put into action and were able to exploit the opposition’s weaknesses. 

“The main thing we learnt is that we have the ability to beat some of the top teams in the league. We didn’t phase the game out well at all, but we have to believe that we are capable of putting ourselves in these positions again and next time execute our phase out. A number of things we have previously talked about regarding phasing out a game we can improve, we just need to make sure we readdress these going into next weekend.”

That said Giles admits his team were “gutted” at the result, but on reflection being 6-4 up against one of the league’s top teams has boosted their confidence ahead of the match against Surbiton this weekend.

With that in mind, Giles says there will be very little difference in their preparations for the encounter with the reigning champions.

“Our overall preparation will be very much the same as other weeks. We will have two good training sessions this week catered to working on some important areas for us, as well as identify some of the opportunities available for this weekend.”

The focus for those sessions will be on closing down the Surbiton attacking penalty corner routine and creating quick turnover counter attacking opportunities. The other focus will be on physically and mentally performing for the duration of the match.

For their part, current league leaders Surbiton enjoyed a bye last week but still maintain top spot. They will be looking to quickly regain earlier momentum and ensure they finish the weekend ahead of the pack.

Old Georgians lead the chasing duo, ahead of Hampstead & Westminster on goal difference, albeit the North London side has a game in hand.

Both Durham University and Wimbledon were impacted by Covid-19 restrictions last weekend. The students were unable to host Holcombe, while Wimbledon’s visit to Exeter University was postponed. If Covid restrictions permit, both sides will want to find winning ways. Wimbledon lost their last match 1-4 to an in-form Hampstead & Westminster, while Durham have yet to get any points on the board. 

Were the team from the North East to taste victory, they could well leapfrog both Exeter and Brooklands MU and leave the bottom of the table. Exeter have a bye this weekend, while Brooklands MU’s game against Old Georgians has been postponed.

An intriguing clash is scheduled between Holcombe and Hampstead & Westminster. With Matt Guise-Brown popping in penalty corners with regularity and the team-wide confidence that comes from roundly beating East Grinstead, Kwan Browne’s team will be ready to do battle with Holcombe and continue to push for a top two place in the league.

However, Holcombe’s enforced week away from the action could be just what was needed for Julian Halls to get his team back on track after their loss two weeks ago to Wimbledon.

Level on points and with two wins apiece, the match between East Grinstead and Beeston has all the promise of a feisty affair. Both teams have played some good hockey this year but both are yet to really hit their stride and find consistency. A prediction for this game is an exciting, evenly-matched encounter, with little room for error.


Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, 24 October):
Premier Division 
East Grinstead v Beeston 13:00
Holcombe v Hampstead & Westminster 18:00
Oxted v Surbiton 18:30
Wimbledon v Univ of Durham 17:30

Division One North
City of Peterborough v Univ of Nottingham 13:30
Olton & West Warwicks v Deeside Ramblers 12:00

Division One South
Brighton & Hove v Sevenoaks 17:00
Havant v Teddington 13:15
Old Cranleighans v Reading 14:30
Oxford Hawks v Canterbury 17:30
Team Bath Buccaneers v Southgate 12:30

Conference East
Harleston Magpies v Richmond 13:30
London Wayfarers v Old Loughtonians 14:30
Spencer v Bromley & Beckenham 13:30
Wapping v London Edwardians 18:00
West Herts v St Albans 13:30
Conference North
Barford Tigers v Belper 13:00

Conference West
Ashmoor v Cheltenham 14:30
Fareham v Plymouth Marjon 13:30
Isca v Chichester 12:00
Univ of Bristol v Harborne 14:00