• England Hockey Leagues

Surbiton And Old Georgians Crowned Premier Division Champions

The Finals weekend was the culmination of 2023/24 season and it was Surbiton women and Old Georgians men that came out on top and took home the Champions trophies. 

Lucas Ball reviewed the action from across the day.


Third/Fourth playoff:

East Grinstead recovered from yesterday’s semi-final defeat to take bronze at the Women’s Premier Division Finals courtesy of a 4-3 shootout victory over Wimbledon following a 1-1 draw. 

With greats Laura Roper and Sophie Bray playing their final club matches, the Sussex side made it back-to-back seasons with medals at this event though the shootout was not without controversy. 

Meg Crowson initially scored her shootout though an early hooter meant it had to be re-taken, with the second effort missed. Becky Manton scored Wimbledon’s last shootout to even the scores but Ellie Rayer stepped up to score for Theo Dowse’s side and secure third place. 

Overall, it was a game of few chances despite some occasional high-quality build-up play from both teams. 

Roper had the first chance of the game on the reverse after a driving run from Pippa Lock but miscued before Suzy Petty deflected just off-target from Paige Gillo’s slap at the other end towards the end of the first period. 

Issy Field saved well from Becky Manton in the sole chance of the second quarter. 

East Grinstead should have taken the lead five minutes into the second half as two quick aerials launched a fluid attack, with Alex Malzer’s finding Ellie Rayer in the circle before her ball across goal - when she perhaps should have shot - was well-defended.

Just a minute later, though, Dowse’s side did have the lead as Lily Walker cut inside from the right-hand-side and fired a low reverse past Nicki Cochrane.

Amelie Rees almost scored a near-instant leveller - also on the reverse - but her effort ended up just wide. 

Cochrane stopped Rayer from making it 2-0 early on in the final quarter before Wimbledon equalised with nine minutes to go through Crowson. 

Gillott played a lovely cross-field reverse into Crowson who drove into the circle to beat Field for Wimbledon’s first ever Women’s League Finals goal.

Roper saw an effort saved at a penalty corner just a minute later but the rebound was put wide and neither side created any clear-cut chances in the dying embers so the game went to a shootout. 

Wimbledon went first through Crowson and thought they had scored before the re-take was missed, Walker then beating Cochrane to give East Grinstead the lead. 

Fiona Crackles levelled things up for Wimbledon before Malzer missed with the shootout score 1-1 after two efforts each. 

Anna Toman and Liv Breed both scored for 2-2 before Jen Eadie’s miss was met with a goal from Bray to pile the pressure onto Manton. 

Manton scored but Rayer made no mistake with her shootout effort to secure bronze.

The two sides won a meeting each over the course of the season, with Wimbledon winning 3-2 before a 2-1 victory for East Grinstead. 


Third/Fourth Playoff:

In the second match of the day, another shootout followed between Wimbledon and Hampstead & Westminster, with Karl Stagno’s side securing Euro Hockey League qualification for next season alongside Old Georgians and Surbiton courtesy of a 4-3 shootout win following a 2-2 draw.

Kai Kaeppeler and Matt Guise-Brown had given Hampstead a two-goal lead before the end of the first quarter but Wimbledon struck back through David Condon (27’) and Sam Hooper (51’) to level the third/fourth-place play-off.

With the two sides level at 3-3 in the shootout after five efforts apiece, Jolyon Morgan stepped up and missed for Andrew Wilson’s side before Jack Waller scored his second shootout to give Wimbledon victory.

Kaeppeler’s goal was the first real chance of the encounter, his reverse shot appeared to be heading off-target comfortably before a Wimbledon stick deflected it past the again strong Ore Ogunlana. 

Hampstead’s second came from a penalty corner following an Ogunlana save onto a defender’s foot, with Guise-Brown scorching a low drag-flick past the former Surbiton goalkeeper to double the advantage.

Guise-Brown saw another drag-flick saved midway through the second quarter before Wimbledon hit the post through Sam Hooper from a penalty corner of their own.

Soon after, though, the deficit was halved as Condon fired a back-foot hit past Toby Reynolds-Cotterill to give Wimbledon renewed hope before the half-time break.

Wilson’s men could have still re-established their two-goal lead before the half-time break, however, as captain Sam French deflected a close-range pass onto the post.

Chances and goalmouth action were extremely limited in the second half with both sides cancelling each other out for long spells until Wimbledon finally won a penalty corner with nine minutes to play and with James Oates breaking early, Stagno’s men took full advantage as Hooper’s slider beat Reynolds-Cotterill with the ex-Holcombe man netting his second goal of the Premier Division Finals. 

Hooper then stepped up first in the shootout and missed before Jolyon Morgan gave Hampstead & Westminster the lead. 

It was 1-2 after two apiece as Euan Gilmour and Kaeppeler also converted, with the scores level after three apiece when Jack Waller converted and Tom Crowson missed. 

A goal and a miss followed in the last two of the initial five shootouts for both sides with Ben Francis (Wimbledon) and James Sutcliffe (Hampstead & Westminster) scoring and Rory Patterson (Wimbledon) and French missing (Hampstead & Westminster).

Morgan stepped up first in sudden death with the teams reversing and was denied, before Waller scored to spark scenes of celebration for the Raynes Park outfit and secure a first Euro Hockey League spot since 2022/23 when Wimbledon were eliminated in the first round.

The two sides won a meeting apiece in the regular season, with Hampstead winning 3-2 in Phase One before Wimbledon won 5-0 in Phase Two.

Women's Final:

Surbiton won their ninth title in 10 seasons by beating Hampstead & Westminster 3-1 in the Women’s Premier Division Final in a comeback win.

Madi Ratcliffe scored a super opener for her 16th goal of the season in the first half but Surbiton turned the game on its head with three goals in the second half from Leah Wilkinson, Alice Sharp and Sophie Hamilton.

The victory comes in front of Surbiton’s home supporters a year after they lost in the Final to East Grinstead at the same event. 

David Beckett’s side created the vast majority of the chances throughout with Miriam Pritchard making multiple saves in the opening period to deny Giselle Ansley and Megan Dowthwaite. 

Ratcliffe, though, gave David Cooper’s side the lead against the run of play six minutes into the second quarter, striking a first-time reverse low into the far corner past Amber Walton. 

Hamilton could have levelled almost immediately for the perennial champions but fired over from close range on the reverse before Wilkinson blocked a Ratcliffe drag-flick from a penalty corner. 

Ansley saw another effort blocked shortly after half-time before a dummy variation at another penalty corner gave Wilkinson space to slap into the far corner midway through the third quarter. 

Soon after, Paris 2024 hopeful Amy Costello struck a reverse effort narrowly off-target at yet another corner, leaving the two sides level heading into the final period. 

Sharp was on hand to finish off another variation routine early on in Q4 as she deflected Wilkinson’s slap past Pritchard before Wales great Wilkinson saw another effort cleared off the line. 

Costello then saw a drag-flick swatted away with Pritchard having been withdrawn before Hamilton scored a great goal to make sure of the win with two minutes to go, beating multiple defenders before firing a reverse into the top corner. 

It was a fourth win of the season for Surbiton over Cooper’s side with them having scored 12 goals and conceded just three in those matches. 

The win puts Surbiton just two titles behind Slough’s all-time record of 11 ahead of Leicester in third with six Premier Division wins.

Men's Final:

Old Georgians became the first team to win three Premier Division titles in succession since Cannock’s four in a row from 2003 to 2006 with a 3-1 win over Surbiton. 

Surbiton were bidding to win the men’s and women’s Finals in the same season for the first time since their double triumph in 2019/20 (covid-affected) and took an early lead through Great Britain’s Struan Walker with his 24th goal of the Premier Division season but Georgians struck back through Lee Morton, Dan Shingles and James Carson. 

The win also means that Ashley Jackson’s side will enter the Euro Hockey League (EHJL) at the Final 8 stage next season after arguably the most successful season ever from an English club with a Super 6s Premier Division title, Premier Division title, EHL bronze and a Tier 1 Championships semi-final appearance.

Walker fired powerfully past George Pinner after winning the ball back in the circle just over a minute in but the majority of chances then came the way of Jackson’s men. 

Ed Carson deflected over from his brother Tom’s cross a few minutes later before Sam Hiha directed a Liam Sanford cross wide and Morton fired narrowly wide on the turn all before the end of the first quarter. 

Despite Surbiton keeping the ball well in spells, OGs were able to spring attacks quickly and caused Surbiton lots of problems in transition though the first chance of the second period came the way of the hosts. 

Rob Farrington spun and pushed goalwards but former Great Britain goalkeeper Pinner comfortably saved. 

The St. George’s College outfit were level midway through Q2 as Morton finished off a great move, firing Tom Carson’s cross into the roof of the net bast James Mazarelo. 

Old Georgians failed to make the most of two penalty corners following their equaliser before Alan Forsyth was denied by the again-impressive Mazarelo. 

Surbiton had two brilliant chances to re-take the lead early on in the second half as Pinner superbly denied Walker’s reverse effort before saving a penalty stroke from Luke Taylor. 

Sanford fouled Alex Williams to give Surbiton the chance to go back ahead but Taylor’s stroke effort was tame and comfortably kept out by the former Holcombe shot-stopper. 

The momentum soon swung back the way of Old Georgians, though, with Hiha forcing a good save from Mazarelo before Forsyth’s audacious lob attempt dropped agonisingly wide. 

In the last minute before the final break, though, the lead was finally Old Georgians’ as captain Shingles deflected in from Jackson’s sliding pass at a penalty corner. 

Surbiton looked to push forward in the fourth period but struggled too create any clear-cut chances, with Henry Weir charging down three penalty corners brilliantly before the title was sealed with three minutes to play as Forsyth teed up James Carson to beat Mazarelo from close range. 

The victory made it a second for Old Georgians over Surbiton in three matches this season - Surbiton beat Jackson’s side 3-2 in Phase One before a 4-2 reverse in Phase Two between the top-two sides.

Premier Division statistics:

Sam Ward and Madi Ratcliffe finished as the two top-scorers in both Premier Divisions with 25 goals and 16 goals respectively. 

League Finals standings:


  1. Surbiton
  2. Hampstead & Westminster
  3. East Grinstead
  4. Wimbledon


  1. Old Georgians
  2. Surbiton
  3. Wimbledon
  4. Hampstead & Westminster