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Holcombe lose 1-0 to Surbiton in the Men’s Premier Division phase two while the women’s team are beaten 2-1 at home to Harleston Magpies

Holcombe Men suffered a second Premier Division phase two defeat in as many matches on Saturday.

Visitors Surbiton ran out 1-0 winners at Holcombe Park courtesy of Conor Williamson’s goal - that match coming after the women’s team had also been beaten at home.

Barry Middleton’s men’s side were beaten on Saturday evening by Surbiton Picture: Steve Crispe
Barry Middleton’s men’s side were beaten on Saturday evening by Surbiton Picture: Steve Crispe

Reports by Lucas Ball

Holcombe Ladies lost ground in the race for promotion in the Women’s Division 1 South as Nick Bandurak’s side lost 2-1 to ever-improving Harleston Magpies.

Barry Middleton’s men’s side - who lost to Old Georgians in their previous phase two match - played in the evening and were missing both Nick Bandurak and Phil Roper against the second-placed side.

Holcombe dropped to fourth after the latest defeat.

The first chances of the game came the way of the visitors via a string of penalty corners, the closest the London side came was from a Luke Taylor drag-flick, Middleton clearing off-the-line.

Tom Russell forced James Mazarelo into action from close range soon after before a driving run from Rob Field almost teed up Russell again, Surbiton managing to hold out in defence to keep their clean sheet intact.

Another couple of penalty corners followed for Mark Pearn’s side, one defended and the other saved by Ollie Payne to deny Gareth Furlong, who scored twice against Holcombe in the reverse fixture in Phase One.

As the game edged towards half-time, Sam Taylor stopped a powerful Tim Nurse effort on the line as Holcs conceded yet another penalty corner, this one defended comfortably after a mis-trap at the top of the circle.

Jake Owen was denied a chance at the other end by some superb defending before Taylor was once again the hero at the back, diving across goal to deflect a dangerous cutback out of play.

Midway through the third period, the visitors did finally break the deadlock.

Taylor was denied from another corner with the rebound falling to Williamson, who smashed past Payne from close range.

Payne saved well again to deny Nurse soon after before an immense double save, stopping a deflection as he closed the attacker down before diving and reaching upwards to palm a second effort over the bar.

Holcombe’s best chance for an equaliser came as Hayden Phillips teed up Tom O’Keeffe, but Mazarelo spread well to deny the forward a second Premier Division goal of the season.

More heroics from Payne stopped the visitors from extending their lead late on as he made multiple saves in quick succession, with Pearn’s side holding on for all three points as they ensured the gap to Old Georgians remained at just three points at the top.

Holcombe are now three points behind Thursday night’s opponents Wimbledon - that match being played at Raynes Park High School - and they host Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday (6.30pm).

Holcombe women lost out to Harleston Magpies on Saturday afternoon Picture: Holcombe Hockey Club / Becci Woodhead
Holcombe women lost out to Harleston Magpies on Saturday afternoon Picture: Holcombe Hockey Club / Becci Woodhead

Holcombe Women went behind early on against Harleston Magpies.

Jess Howland gave the visitors the lead after just six minutes before Phoebe Steele equalised at the end of the third quarter for Holcombe.

Hannah de Selincourt scored the winner with 11 minutes left on the clock to give Harleston their fourth straight win.

With Barnes winning 3-0 at home to Southgate, Omar Shibli’s side are now a point above Holcombe in second with four games to play, though the two sides do still have to meet at Holcombe Park on the penultimate weekend, ahead of Barnes facing league leaders Surbiton 2s on the last day.

Deanna Ritchie and Lottie Bingham both forced saves from Georgia Flatt within the first minute as Holcs looked for a fast start, but the Magpies – coached by former Holcombe player and assistant coach Adnan Zakir – took the lead on six minutes through Howland, a powerful strike hitting the backboard from a penalty corner.

Steele drag-flicked wide from a corner at the other end just a couple of minutes later before Tilly Woodhead saved at another corner to deny the visitors a second.

The second quarter was a low-key affair with all three chances of note coming within a sixty-second period – Woodhead made a double-save before Harleston won a penalty corner, the goalkeeper then saving onto the bar at the resulting corner after a deflection.

Holcombe dominated possession throughout the third period but struggled to create too many clear-cut chances. Ritchie slapped just wide from a cross-cum-shot with Holcombe players not quite supporting the New Zealander quickly enough, before Bethan Hodges came close to scoring her first outdoor Holcombe goal.

Catherine Ledesma then had a goal controversially disallowed before Steele drag-flicked home to give Holcs renewed hope heading into the last period.

Tilly Tillings and Bingham linked up well to tee up Ritchie once more with just over 10 minutes to play, the forward coming close to finishing but it was heartbreak for Bandurak’s side with two minutes remaining.

A defensive mis-trap at the top of the circle gave de Selincourt the chance to score, the Magpies forward squeezing the ball under the onrushing Woodhead to give Zakir’s side the lead.

Holcombe had a chance to equalise on the final whistle but Steele’s drag-flick was saved.

Holcombe head to Bath this Saturday to face Team Bath Buccaneers, while promotion rivals Barnes take on Canterbury at Dukes Meadow.

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