Thursday, July 7, 2022

England Hockey Super 6s Finals: men’s and women’s previews

All you need to know about the culmination of the English indoor season and the four finalists across the men’s and women’s tournaments

Men’s Super 6s

Surbiton v East Grinstead

Two giants of the English indoor game meet in the first men’s semi-final during the 2022 Super 6s Finals Day at the Copper Box Arena on Sunday 30 January.

Two-time winners and defending champions Surbiton will face an East Grinstead side who have won 14 championships in their illustrious history. Who will come out on top

Road to the Copper Box

Surbiton began the defence of their Super 6s title by putting out a statement of intent as they beat Reading 12-1 in their opening game of the Men’s Premier Division. They reached double figures on two other occasions in the group, finding the net 61 times in their eight matches – the next highest scorers were Wimbledon on 46. They also boasted the meanest defence too and won seven of their matches to book their place at yet another Finals Day.

East Grinstead were involved in several closely fought games in the Premier Division, beginning with a gripping 7-6 victory over Holcombe. They won five of their eight games, with two victories in their final two fixtures sealing their spot at the Copper Box. Their last match saw them hit the heights of double figures as they beat Brooklands MU 11-5 to head into the showpiece event on a very high note.

Super 6s history

East Grinstead have won a total of 14 national indoor titles, more than any other men’s team and only equalled by Slough’s women. Much of that dominance has come in the last decade or so; between 2009 and 2019 they only failed to lift the trophy on one occasion.

That was when Surbiton’s men famously beat them in the 2017 final to win their first indoor title. They have since made three more Finals Day appearances, losing in the semi-finals in 2018 before East Grinstead beat them on a shootout in the final the following year. They gained their revenge in 2020 though, beating Holcombe 3-2 in a tense and gripping final.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 2 2020: East Grinstead V’s Buckingham (W) in action during the Jaffa Super 6’s Indoor match at The Copper Box Arena on February 2, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Will Palmer)

Hampstead & Westminster v Wimbledon

There was a total of 14 goals scored when they met in the Men’s Premier Division earlier this month – will they match that tally this weekend?

Road to the Copper Box

Hampstead & Westminster set the early form in the Men’s Premier Division, winning each of their opening five games to sit top of the group. They suffered two narrow defeats in their final three matches but were missing players on international duty and, with many of them due to return, will be confident they can get back to winning ways at the Copper Box.

Wimbledon were the second highest scorers in the men’s league and put 12 past Brooklands in their third fixture. They lost just once and were the only team to inflict a defeat on eventual table toppers Surbiton but two draws meant they narrowly missed out on finishing in second place.

Super 6s history

Neither side has claimed a national indoor title before, meaning both will be chomping at the bit to lay their hands on the trophy for the first time at the end of Finals Day on Sunday.

This will be Wimbledon’s third appearance at the showpiece event in recent history, having been knocked out by Team Bath Buccs in the 2018 semi-finals and Surbiton at the same stage two years later.

Hampstead & Westminster have only reached the final four once in the last few years, suffering defeat at the hands of East Grinstead in 2019.

Head-to-head

This will be the first meeting between the two teams at a Finals Day, with their three previous indoor clashes coming in the Men’s Premier Division.

Hampstead & Westminster have won two of those games – including an 8-6 victory earlier this month – meaning Wimbledon will be wanting to level proceedings by walking away with a win on Sunday.

Players to watch

Teague Marcano provided much of Hampstead’s firepower in the Men’s Premier Division, the 21-year-old finding the net 15 times in just eight matches. Experienced Irish athlete Chris Cargo could feature alongside fellow internationals Toby Reynolds-Cotterill, Rupert Shipperley, Matt Guise-Brown, Will Calnan and Dan Kyriakides while exciting youngsters James Oates and Matt Ramshaw may also feature.

Wimbledon’s Ed Horler will be missing through injury, his tally of 19 goals bettered only by Surbiton’s Jamie Golden. Several international players could feature, including Liam Ansell, Rhys Smith and Jack Waller, while Wales’ Ben Francis will look to add to the nine goals he scored in the Premier Division.

Women’s Super 6s

Repton v Buckingham

Repton’s women are making their Super 6s Finals Day debut this weekend when they take on defending champions Buckingham in the second women’s semi-final.

You can read the full preview ahead of what is set to be a cracking encounter below.

Road to the Copper Box

In their first season in the Premier Division, Repton put in an impressive showing as they finished second in the table. They won six of their eight games, reaching double figures against Wimbledon and Holcombe, and finished as top scorers in the competition.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 2 2020: East Grinstead V’s Buckingham (W) in action during the Jaffa Super 6’s Indoor match at The Copper Box Arena on February 2, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Will Palmer)

Buckingham began the defence of the title they won in 2020 with wins over Wimbledon and Holcombe in their opening two games, while they went on claim victory in two more matches before finishing with a pair of draws to sit third in the group.

Super 6s history

Buckingham have appeared at two Super 6s Finals Days in recent history, reaching the final on both occasions. They beat Bowdon in the semi-finals via a shootout in 2019 before being defeated in the final by East Grinstead. They went one better the following year though, gaining revenge on East Grinstead in the semis before beating Bowdon once again to lift the trophy.

Having only formed an indoor team in 2016, Repton have rapidly risen through the leagues, appearing in the Premier Division for the first time this season before reaching their maiden Finals Day. Will they pull off a remarkable victory?

East Grinstead v Slough

The opening game of the day will see Slough – the most successful women’s indoor team in English club history – face 2019 champions East Grinstead.

Road to the Copper Box

East Grinstead were the only unbeaten men’s or women’s team to qualify from the Premier Division, winning seven of their eight matches. They were involved in some high scoring affairs, beating Buckingham 9-3 and Bowdon 8-5, after recording a goalless draw with Slough in their opening match.

Slough qualified in fourth place, narrowly holding off Bowdon to secure the last remaining spot at Finals Day. After a slow start to the Premier Division, they won three games in a row to rocket up to the table before a 2-2 draw with Buckingham was enough to book their place in the final four.

Super 6s history

Slough are the joint-most successful indoor team in England, having won 14 national titles – the same number as East Grinstead’s men. Their last victory came in 2017 when they beat Canterbury 2-0 in the final, while they dominated the scene in the ‘90s and ‘00s as they claimed 11 trophies in 15 years.

East Grinstead have won two indoor finals in recent years, their first victory coming in 2016 as they beat Canterbury 3-1 in the final before emerging victorious over Buckingham in the 2019 final. On both occasions they’ve won the championship, they’ve done so alongside their men – will the same happen this year?

Head-to-head

The last time they met at a Super 6s Finals Day was in 2019, with goals from Elsie Nix and Lucy Holder seeing East Grinstead emerge 2-1 victors on their way to winning the title.

Copper Box success in February 2020 for Buckingham PIC: Will Palmer

They’ve met several times in the Premier Division or equivalent group stages over the last few years too, with the overall record seeing East Grinstead having won five matches, Slough twice and the teams drawing twice too.

That last draw came in the opening game of this year’s Premier Division as it finished 0-0, which was the only match East Grinstead failed to win in the group.

Players to watch

East Grinstead boast attacking threats all over the pitch, with a total of 11 players scoring during the Premier Division. Chloe Brown and Eliza Wheeler finished as their top scorers with seven apiece, while Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Ellie Rayer also bagged five. As always, the deadly Sophie Bray will be looking to show her class while young players Robyn Bentley, Amy Thompson and Alex Malzer could shine too.

A total of six members of Slough’s championship-winning team from 2017 featured in the Premier Division this year and that experience could prove crucial if they are to repeat the feat. Captain Kat McGonigle is a club and indoor legend and will be hoping to lead her side to a second title, while goalkeeper Asha Tranquille-Day and forward Dilly Newton will bring plenty of knowledge and nous at either end of the pitch. Imogen Brown was their top scorer during qualification with five goals, while Sarah Parkinson-Mills scored four times.

Buy your tickets here for Sunday’s Finals Day at Copper Box Arena

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