Saturday 3 November – around the grounds…
Epsom 1s: 3 (Midmer, W.Hunt, J.Hunt)
Basingstoke 1s: 3
Epsom Men’s 1s stayed top of the Surrey / Hampshire League 1 after a tight 3-3 draw with second-placed Basingstoke at Old Schools Lane. Basingstoke started the tie sharper and soon opened the scoring with a short corner dragflick. Epsom rallied and after an even passage of play James Midmer converted a short corner rebound for 1-1 at halftime. Basingstoke moved 2-1 ahead early in the second-half, with a neat move finding a forward who spun sharply and slotted home. Epsom again fought back with Paul Atkinson showing some tight skills on the left baseline and playing in Will Hunt to smash home emphatically for 2-2. Epsom were pressing hard at this point but they then fell behind for a third time when an innocuous-looking through ball saw hesitation in Epsom’s defence allowing a tap-in for Basingstoke’s forward. Epsom fought back again and threw everything forward in the closing stages. Jack Marfleet hit the post after more great work from Paul Atkinson, and then with three minutes to go James Hunt converted a slick corner routine for 3-3. This late strike earned a point which enabled Epsom to stay top ahead of next week’s visit to Reigate Priory, who moved into second with a 4-2 win away at Croydon. This is always a tough encounter and Epsom will be hoping to improve.
Woking 2s: 1
Epsom 2s: 4 (Neve 2, Wolfgang, Pizzey)
The Men’s 2s rose to sixth in Surrey Division 1 with a 4-1 win away at Woking 2s. Epsom arrived at Goldsworth Park looking to convert a recent upturn in form into points. The opening stages were tight but Epsom took the lead when Tom Neve scored neatly at the back post after a great pass from Ed Cooper. Epsom followed this up with some further slick play resulting in Australian loan signing Gus Wolfgang slotting in to lead 2-0 at half time. Some ill-discipline hampered Epsom in the second half with a succession of cards ultimately leading to Woking scoring to give them some hope moving into the final third of the game. But Epsom came again and another fine team move enabled Neve to add his second for 3-1. Some great skills from Josh Harris then won a short corner, at which Alex Pizzey made it 4-1 by converting a rebound. Epsom finished worthy 4-1 winners and will look to continue this form into next Saturday’s home game against Addiscombe, which is a 2:30 push-back at Old Schools Lane
Elsewhere on Saturday; the Men’s 3s slipped to 9th in Surrey Division 3 with a 4-1 loss at home to Woking 3s. The Men’s 4s and Mustangs both fell in the Surrey Open League 1; the 4s lost 5-0 to Teddington Oaks to remain 11th and the Mustangs slipped to 9th after going down 4-2 in a hard-fought game against Old Reigations 2s. The Men’s 5s also lost a tight game 2-0 against Woking 5s, slipping to 8th. The Embers were outgunned by East Grinstead in the Vets Prem, losing 6-0 with Mike Holland scoring five dragflick corners for EG. The Embers are now 6th in that league with a symmetrical record from five games W:2 D:1 L:2
On Sunday, the Embers moved into Round 2 of the EH Cup with a 6-2 win over East Grinstead. Two time winners of the EH Trophy, the Embers have now moved into the senior tournament and fielded a strong squad up at Epsom College. A tight opening gave way to Epsom taking control with Martin Wales distributing from the back and Steve Turnbull showing some trickery down the right. This early momentum saw Mat Heal convert from close range to open the scoring. Continued pressure from Epsom with Turnbull and the Atkinson brothers causing havoc led to Epsom being awarded two penalty strokes – both dispatched by James Harris. The second half saw Epsom continue to dominate with the crowd braving the cold being treated to some free-flowing attacking hockey. Rob Tong scored a diving back post goal with Billy Green and Mat Heal topping off the day to make it a comfortable 6-2 victory. The next round is November 25th which should give the many injuries ample time to recover.