Wimbledon and Surbiton set up all south-west London final at England Hockey League Finals Weekend

Wimbledon and Surbiton set up an all south-west London final today at the hockey League Finals Weekend, held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Both Men’s Premier Division clubs will now battle it out to be crowned league play-off champions today after victory in their semi-finals.

Wimbledon saw off Hampstead and Westminster, with a 2-1 victory, thanks to goals from Simon Mantell and Borja Llorens.

In the day’s second semi-final Surbiton beat Holcombe 3-2 with Alan Forsyth, William Marshall and David Goodfield scoring.

Despite reigning champions Wimbledon making it through to the final, coach Ben Hawes was far from pleased with the performance put in.

“It’s frustrating actually. The result, of course, is everything but we set the bar really high with our performances last week and the individuals we’ve got in this team were way off their game today,” he said.

“Hampstead were always going to cause us issues but I expected our better players just to step up a level.

“Physically, mentally and technically we were probably 10 or 15 per cent off where we needed to be.

“Having said that a result is a result. We need to get a few things sorted and lift it a level for today.”

After a positive start to the first quarter, Wimbledon broke the deadlock through a short corner.

Gordon McIntyre delivered and Mantell was there to fire the ball low into the net.

In the second quarter Wimbledon doubled their lead, through another short corner, as Llorens converted with three minutes to go until the break.

In the final quarter Hampstead’s Richard Alexander pulled one back with a lofted finish but the Premier Division table-toppers held on.

Afterwards, Hawes considered whether the finals weekend itself had played on the players’ minds.

“Maybe but it shouldn’t do. We’re professional enough to do it,” he added.

“We’ve done it the last two years, done it last weekend, and it’s the nature of tournament hockey.

“When it’s a semi-final you’ve got to leave everything on the pitch and then go again.

“I don’t think we did but hopefully we’ll have a chance to redeem ourselves.

“We’re going to come out positively and play our game.

“We know we can beat everyone but we know, also, if we are not up to our 95 to 100 per cent then we can lose to everyone.”

Meanwhile, Surbiton coach Mark Pearn was delighted with the effort shown by his team in their victory against Holcombe.

“Obviously we’re delighted. We aim all season to make the play-offs and we know the play-offs can be a bit of what happens on the day,” he said.

“We felt we had the game plan, it clearly showed, and we felt we dominated.

“We weren’t quite good enough, and we didn’t score enough goals, to end the game earlier and that’s why it was quite tight towards the end.

“But I was really pleased with the way the guys played and I can’t fault their effort.”

Surbiton had fallen behind after Holcombe’s Sam Ward turned the ball home with an excellent finish in the second quarter.

Moments later league top scorer Forsyth leveled after feinting and firing the ball past goalkeeper George Pinner.

In the third quarter Marshall handed Surbiton the lead before Goodfield added another with 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Ward pulled a goal back for Holcombe but Surbiton held on to set up the all-South West London final, something Pearn is understandably looking forward to.

“Both games we’ve had against Wimbledon this season have been 3-3,” he said.

“We feel we are playing well but, obviously, Wimbledon are also playing well and they’re on a good run of form.

“It’s going to be a great game either way and both teams are back in Europe.

“I just want these guys to show what they can do and that’s improve on today.”

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