Surbiton Hockey Club’s men might be struggling in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, but the club’s next generation is making up for it in the EHB Cup.
Goals from James Schilling, James Tindall, Jonny Ruiz and Tim Pinnock, gave captain Tim Deakin’s men a much-needed 4-1 league win over Brooklands Manchester University on Saturday.
It was only their second league triumph this season and it was followed by a rousing 8-0 win over Conference North side Preston on Sunday, which landed a place in the last eight of the cup.
Goals from summer arrival James Royce (two), Tindall (two), Mike Houlihan, David Bartram, Fergus Dunn and Ruiz accounted for Preston – setting up a quarter-final clash at either Sheffield University Bankers or Oxton, who play on January 20.
Whitgift School hockey coach Deakin had targeted European qualification and a potential title challenge this term, but the slow league start means they are more concerned with beating the drop.
“We’ve changed the coaches and a few players, so things have taken time to settle,” said the 26-year-old, pictured right.
“That happens whenever you change your management structure and I think we are starting to make progress.
“We are using the cup competition to develop the youngsters and they
are showing what they are capable of.
“I’m sure we can still make the play-offs. One win has moved us off the bottom and up to seventh, so it is possible.
“The first aim is to make sure we avoid relegation and hopefully the rest will look after itself.”
Surbiton Ladies slipped to fourth in the Women’s Hockey League Premier Division table after a 1-0 defeat at Canterbury on Sunday.
Surbiton went behind inside five minutes at Polo Farm and the hosts could easily have led 5-0 at half-time.
Surbiton will look to bounce back when they host struggling Olton & West Warwicks on Saturday.
And Deakin admited the women’s recent arrival in the country’s top-flight was making his spell at the club even better.
“The club is one of the biggest and oldest in the country, so to have the ladies team doing so well is amazing too,” he added.
“It is my second year as captain and I’m really enjoying my role at the club.”
Surbiton men host East Grinstead at Sugden Road on Sunday.
* Surbiton’s Team GB star Matt Daly will spend this season on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a persistent knee problem.
Daly missed much of last season through injury but managed to get fit to appear at the London 2012 Games.
“Matt has never been that lucky with injuries. I think he managed to train for a month-and-a-half before the Olympics to make it but apart from that he missed most of last year,” said Deakin.
“It will be good to get him back.”