Defending champions Surbiton came from behind to beat Holcombe in a thrilling ten-goal game as the Men’s Premier Division got off to a scintillating start.
Surbiton – who were crowned league champions the last time it was contested in full in 2019/20 – fell behind early on as Tom Russell opened the scoring for Holcombe. Rob Farrington drew Surbiton level before Nick Bandurak struck to edge Holcombe ahead once again shortly before half-time.
Gareth Furlong fired home a penalty corner to bring Surbiton level for a second time, only for Jake Owen and Tom O’Keefe to both score within two minutes to hand Holcombe a healthy advantage.
But another effort from Farrington, two goals from England and GB international Luke Taylor and a David Goodfield goal saw Surbiton overturn the deficit and emerge 6-4 winners.
Hampstead & Westminster also played out an enthralling game against Wimbledon, surviving a late scare to emerge 3-2 winners.
South African Olympian Matt Guise-Brown produced a fine hat-trick for Hampstead to ensure they lead 3-0 at half-time against their London counterparts.
Two goals in three minutes from Evan Kimber and Ben Francis set up a grandstand finish at Raynes Park High School but it wasn’t quite to be for Wimbledon.
After finishing last year’s curtailed campaign with a brilliant 1-0 win over Surbiton, Oxted transferred this momentum into the 2021/22 season as they beat East Grinstead 2-1 in the rain in West Sussex.
Debutant Owen Williamson struck two sublime penalty corners to give Oxted the win, finding the top corner on both occasions as his team converted the only two attacking set pieces they won.
Louis Gittens had drawn East Grinstead level with a smart deflection from a corner of their own but they couldn’t find an equaliser late on, despite their best efforts.
The University of Durham also enjoyed a 2-1 victory, this time over Brooklands MU, to start their campaign off in the best possible way.
Jakob Schmidt fired the team from the north-east ahead shortly before half-time before Alex Holmes equalised just a few minutes after the interval.
But Raunaq Rai converted a corner to give Durham the win in a game that also saw Robert Brownbridge start the day as a spectator and end it by taking charge of the game, taking over from one of the initial umpires after they suffered an injury.
Finally, the first game of the day saw Sam Ward continue his stunning international form from the summer as he scored twice to lead Old Georgians to a 4-0 win over Beeston.
The former Beeston player struck in the ninth and 44th minutes as his side began the season imperiously, with James Tindall and Ed Carson also finding the target.
- East Grinstead 1-2 Oxted
- Old Georgians 4-0 Beeston
- Surbiton 6-4 Holcombe
- University of Durham 2-1 Brooklands MU
- Wimbledon 2-3 Hampstead & Westminster