A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match preview – M1s vs. Old Georgians (Premier Division, 28th September, 2023)

By Lucas Ball

Hosts Holcombe are looking to maintain their 100% record when Premier Division champions Old Georgians head to Holcombe Park on Thursday night.

Barry Middleton’s side have dispatched Reading and Southgate in their opening two fixtures and currently sit top of the table ahead of this re-arranged fixture, originally scheduled for October 7th – when both teams will be in Barcelona for the Euro Hockey League (EHL) KO16.

Great Britain internationals Phil Roper and Nick Bandurak will be hoping to continue their electric early season form having scored three goals apiece in just two games, while the likes of Ollie Payne, Sam Taylor and Brad Read will have to remain focused at the other end to attempt to ensure that Holcombe still have the joint-best defensive record in the Premier Division following this match.

Old Georgians, meanwhile, have a new coaching structure following the departure of Mike Hughes, with perennial winner Brett Garrard – formerly of Surbiton women – coming in to work alongside former Holcombe women coach Chris Bowen.

The Surrey side have won one and lost one of their opening two matches, beating the University of Nottingham 4-1 on the opening day before losing 3-2 at home to Surbiton.

Garrard’s squad is littered with both current and former internationals including George Pinner, Sam Ward, Ashley Jackson, Lee Morton, Chris Griffiths, James Albery and Alan Forsyth to name a few, with Pinner, Jackson and Ward also set to come up against their former club.

Both sides face a quick turn-around to their next matches after Thursday night, with Holcombe away to Surbiton on Saturday (6pm) for another double-header and Old Georgians away to joint-table-toppers Wimbledon (6pm) in repeats of both of last season’s Finals Weekend semi-finals.

Holcombe squad: Ollie Payne (GK), Tim Guise-Brown, Sam Taylor, Brad Read, Louis Duprez, Barry Middleton, Rhodri Furlong, Greg Nolan, Mo Mea, Rob Field, Hayden Phillips, Phil Roper, Tom O’Keeffe, Alex Pendle, Tom Russell, Nick Bandurak

Old Georgians squad: George Pinner (GK), Henry Weir, Liam Sandford, Kyle Marshall, Tom Carson, James Carsonn, Ashley Jackson, Dan Shingles, Elliott Messem, Sam Ward, Josh Pavis, Lee Morton, Ed Carson, Chris Griffiths, James Albery, Chris Proctor, James Cunningham, Alan Forsyth

image: Simon Webb