Old Georgians Hockey Club crowned Champions of the Men’s Premier Division Championship
Dragflick Newsdesk : Old Georgians secured their first ever Men’s Premier Division title in style with a 5-0 win at East Grinstead on Saturday evening.
The leaders entered the only game of the day in the division knowing they needed two points from their remaining three matches to seal the deal, having let a two-goal lead slip last time out when the trophy was within their grasp.
There was to be no such drama on this occasion and they were quickly two to the good once more courtesy of Tom Carson and Ed Carson.
James Tindall made it three from a penalty corner to all but settle the outcome and the champions weren’t done there.
James Carson added another just after the half-hour mark before Tindall completed his brace as Old Georgians sealed their historic silverware with two games to spare.
Wimbledon took another big step towards joining the champions in next season’s Euro Hockey League with a 5-1 win over Hampstead & Westminster.
Sam Hooper’s early strike was cancelled out by Matt Guise-Brown but the hosts took control thereafter, with Hooper scoring his second and Ed Horler bagging a hat-trick.
Surbiton kept their own European ambitions alive with a comprehensive 7-1 win over Holcombe.
The tone was set within five minutes as Luke Taylor and Gareth Furlong put the home side two up but Tim Guise-Brown halved the deficit.
Jamie Golden restored Surbiton’s two-goal cushion and Taylor’s second opened up a 4-1 lead.
Rob Farrington, Ben Park and Alex Williams added their names to the scoresheet as the hosts stayed five points adrift of Wimbledon with two games remaining – the two teams meet next weekend in a tantalising clash.
At the other end of the table, Durham University’s survival hopes took a hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Brooklands MU.
Christian DeAngelis gave the strugglers hope when he levelled from a penalty corner following Luis Cuttle’s opener but parity lasted just four minutes as David Flanagan fired home what turned out to be the winner.
Durham remain two points clear of University of Exeter, who didn’t play this week and therefore have two games left to Durham’s one.
Elsewhere, Jamie Batten, Lewis Fraser, Jordan Turnbull and Rafa Calderon were on target for Oxted as they recorded a comfortable 4-0 win at Beeston.
Division 1 North
A dramatic survival Sunday in Division 1 North saw all three of the relegation-threatened teams win, meaning Deeside Ramblers stayed up at Sheffield Hallam and City of Peterborough’s expense. Rashad Al-Fazari was the Ramblers’ hero as his brace inspired a 2-1 win over Bowdon, ensuring they finished a place and a point above the dreaded dotted line.
Sheffield Hallam beat Cambridge City 3-1 and City of Peterborough were impressive 4-1 winners at University of Birmingham but both will be playing Conference hockey next season. University of Nottingham completed a near-flawless season by recording their 17th win in 18 games, overcoming Cardiff & Met 4-1, and runners-up Loughborough Students cruised past Olton & West Warwickshire 7-1.
Division 1 South
Reading secured the title with a 4-2 win at Oxford Hawks, sealing a double promotion for the club and ensuring both their men’s and women’s teams will be in their respective Premier Divisions next season.
The Berkshire side finish three points clear of Canterbury, who finished with a 6-2 win at home to relegated Havant, while Southgate and Old Cranleighan both enjoyed entertaining 4-3 away successes at Teddington and Brighton & Hove respectively. Sevenoaks made sure of fourth spot by overcoming third-placed Team Bath Buccaneers 2-1.
West Herts and London Edwardians saw their relegations confirmed as they both slipped to defeats. West Herts went down 2-0 at Indian Gymkhana, who sealed their own safety in the process, while Edwardians were beaten 7-2 at home by runners-up Richmond.
Bromley & Beckenham achieved a great escape as, having started the day in the bottom two, they won 5-2 at third-placed Spencer to haul themselves to safety. Champions Old Loughtonians finished their successful campaign in fitting fashion by beating Wapping 5-1 and London Wayfarers put three past Hampstead & Westminster 2s without reply.
Barford Tigers completed an invincible season by beating Harleston Magpies, ensuring they end with 50 points from an available 54. At the other end, Cambridge University joined Khalsa Leamington in being relegated as their 2-2 draw at Bedford was not enough to keep them up as the best ninth-placed team – with other results going as they did, victory would have secured Cambridge’s survival but they conceded an equaliser four minutes from time. Khalsa Leamington ended a tricky season on a high, picking up just their second win of the campaign with a 4-3 success against Loughborough Town. Harborne won 5-1 at St Albans and University of Birmingham 2s beat Lichfield 3-2.
Belper earned themselves a stress-free Sunday by wrapping up the title on Saturday, beating Wakefield 3-1 in their game in hand to open up an unassailable gap at the summit. The newly-crowned champions completed their weekend double-header with a thrilling 5-5 draw against relegated Alderley Edge, who go down alongside Durham University 2s following their 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Doncaster. Didsbury Northern won 4-2 at Preston, Leeds edged past West Yorkshire neighbours Wakefield 3-2 and Beeston 2s drew 2-2 with Timperley.
Plymouth Marjon retained their status as a Conference outfit as a 1-1 draw with Chichester took them to 17 points, the best of any of the ninth-placed teams in the Conferences. Champions University of Bristol were beaten 4-1 at Ashmoor, who climbed to fourth, while Isca finished second following their 6-2 win at Clifton Robinsons. Cardiff University came from 2-0 down to draw with Fareham and University of Exeter 2s won an eight-goal thriller 5-3 against relegated Cheltenham.