A dramatic weekend in the Men’s Premier Division finished with new leaders as Wimbledon took advantage of Surbiton’s unbeaten run coming to an end.
Surbiton were protecting a 100 per cent record going into Saturday evening’s visit of Hampstead & Westminster and took the lead through Ben Boon on 46 minutes.
The advantage was short-lived as the visitors hit back instantly, Matt Guise-Brown equalising four minutes later.
And Rupert Shipperley struck just before the hour mark to hand Hampstead & Westminster their first ever Premier Division victory at Sugden Road and end the hosts’ winning run at seven games.
A memorable weekend for the central London side continued on Sunday as they dispatched Durham University 4-0.
Guise-Brown was back on target, while Matthew Ramshaw, James Oates and Joseph Sharp also found the net for the fourth-placed outfit.
Wimbledon were also convincing winners as they seized on Surbiton’s slip up to move three points clear at the top of the table, putting seven past Brooklands MU without reply.
Peter Scott opened the scoring in the 27th minute but the game remained in the balance at the break, with the hosts holding a slender lead.
Scott’s second opened the floodgates after the break, however, and was added to by doubles from Eddie Way and Evan Kimber before David Condon put the icing on the cake late on.
Old Georgians stay third but are now level on points with Surbiton following a 5-1 win over Oxted.
The two sides served up a 16-goal thriller last season, Old Georgians eventually coming out on top 10-6, and both sides were quickly off the mark this time around as Oxted’s Lewis Fraser cancelled out James Carson’s opener.
The hosts pulled clear thereafter as James Albery, Ed Carson, Tom Carson and Dan Shingles all found the net to seal a convincing victory.
The battle of the bottom two was won by East Grinstead, who picked up their first win of the season as goals from Daniel Faulkner, Louis Gittens and Ben Mackey were enough to beat Exeter University 3-2.
Holcombe consolidated their place in the top six with a comfortable 5-2 win over Beeston. Strikes from Nick Bandurak, Tim Guise-Brown and Tom O’Keefe saw the hosts race into a 3-0 lead and though Henry Croft and Gareth Griffiths reduced the arrears, Rob Friend’s second-half brace made the points safe.
Division One North
The crunch clash between two high-flying university rivals ended all square as Loughborough Students played out a 1-1 draw with Cardiff & Met, who became the first side to prevent the leaders winning this season. A third student outfit, University of Nottingham, moved into second with a 3-1 win over Bowdon, meaning just two points now separate the top three. Cambridge City won 5-4 at Deeside Ramblers in a mid-table thriller while University of Birmingham got off the mark for the campaign with a 4-1 win at home to Olton & West Warwicks. The bottom two, Sheffield Hallam and City of Peterborough, remain in search of their first victories after sharing the points in a 2-2 draw.
Division One South
There was late drama in the battle between the top two as Canterbury skipper Tom Dean’s last-gasp winner ended Reading’s 100 per cent start and closed the gap between the sides to six points. Team Bath Buccs moved into third with a 3-1 win at Teddington while Sevenoaks complete the top four after beating Old Cranleighan 2-1. Southgate earned a 3-1 win at Brighton & Hove but Havant remain without a point after going down 2-0 at Oxford Hawks.
Richmond missed the chance to close the gap on leaders Old Loughtonians as they were held 2-2 by Indian Gymkhana, who moved off the bottom in the process. Old Loughtonians also drew, 1-1 at Spencer, and remain five points clear. Third-placed London Edwardians were another side to share the spoils as Hampstead & Westminster 2s came away with a 1-1 draw while there were wins for Wapping and Bromley & Beckenham against West Herts and London Wayfarers respectively.
Leaders Harborne continued their unbeaten start in style as they ran out convincing 8-1 winners over Khalsa Leamington. Barford Tigers kept up the pressure at the top with a 3-1 triumph over Cambridge University and at the other end, University of Birmingham picked up just their second point of the season following a goalless draw with Loughborough Town. Both Harleston Magpies’ trip to Bedford and Lichfield’s visit to St Albans ended in entertaining 3-3 draws.
Belper’s lead at the top has been cut after they were beaten 5-4 by Doncaster in a nine-goal thriller. Didsbury Northern and Timperley took advantage, the former winning 2-1 at Beeston and Timperley beating Leeds 2-0 to both move a point off the leaders. Doncaster themselves are five points adrift with a game in hand. Preston leapfrogged Wakefield at the foot of the table with a 1-0 win and Alderley Edge saw off Durham University 2s 2-0 in a mid-table clash.
Cheltenham’s revival continued under the Friday night lights as they won 2-1 at Clifton Robinsons to record their second win on the spin after six straight defeats. University of Exeter 2s replace them at the foot of the table after their 2-0 defeat at home to leaders University of Bristol, whose lead at the summit has been stretched to four points courtesy of second-placed Ashmoor’s 2-1 defeat at home to Fareham. Two high-scoring encounters saw Plymouth Marjon win 5-4 at Cardiff University and Chichester defeat Isca 5-3.