Monday, May 23, 2022

Men’s Premier Division: Oxted rise to the occasion on opening day

England Hockey men's Premier Division round-up

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Hockey Paper staff
Hockey Paper staff
Latest breaking news, previews and match reports written by Hockey Paper staff

They may have lost specialist Tim Guise-Brown close season, but debutant Owen Williamson took up the mantle with aplomb thanks to two stunning corner strikes as Oxted beat East Grinstead on the opening weekend of the men’s Premier Division.

Reversing the scoreline from the opening day last season, Oxted beat their rivals 2-1 as Williamson, who moved from Loughborough in the summer, flicked two unstoppable penalty corner goals.

Louis Gittens had drawn East Grinstead level with a PC deflection but it was Oxted who were left buoyant at the hooter.

Defending champions Surbiton came from 4-2 down to beat Holcombe in a thrilling ten-goal game at Sugden Road.

Surbiton 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, surviving a late scare to emerge 3-2 winners over London rivals Wimbledon.

Matt Guise-Brown, who played for South Africa at Tokyo 2020, 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 then set up a nervy finish at Raynes Park High School.

University of Durham also enjoyed a 2-1 victory, this time over Brooklands MU.

Jakob Schmidt fired the team from the north-east ahead shortly before half-time before Alex Holmes equalised.

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.

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