Luke Taylor scored twice in the final four minutes as Surbiton staged a dramatic late fightback to deny Wimbledon all three points in the Men’s Premier Division.
The clash between the pair of London high-flyers lived up to the hype under Saturday night lights and saw Wimbledon take an early lead through Sam Hooper, who slotted home from a penalty corner inside three minutes.
Ronan Harvey-Kelly doubled the advantage shortly after the half-hour mark and as full-time approached, it looked as though the visitors would be stretching the gap between the two sides to six points.
But Taylor had other ideas and after a penalty stroke halved the deficit, he followed up by firing home a penalty corner in the final minute to ensure the shares were spoiled.
Brooklands MU saw their top six ambitions ended after a damaging pair of defeats in their weekend double header.
Saturday saw Hampstead & Westminster run out 3-0 winners courtesy of Matthew Ramshaw’s brace and one from Teague Marcano and it got worse for Brooklands the following day when Old Georgians came to town.
Tom Carson, Ed Carson, Elliott Messem and Nick Page each struck braces while James Carson and Lee Morton also found the net as the visitors racked up double figures, returning south with a 10-0 victory which saw them stay second, now just a point behind Wimbledon.
The final top six spot will be decided on the last weekend before the winter break after Oxted were unable to secure their spot, going down 4-0 at Holcombe.
Beeston kept their hopes alive with a 3-1 win at home to University of Exeter, the goals coming from Robbie Gleeson, Sam Apoola and Gareth Griffiths.
Next weekend sees Beeston travel to East Grinstead, who could yet finish in the top six themselves if results go their way next weekend after Sunday’s 4-1 win at University of Durham kept them in contention.
Louis Gittens, Finlay Boothroyd, Jamie Wallace and Luke Holland gave the visitors a four-goal cushion at Maiden Castle, meaning Jack Stubbings’ response was little more than a consolation.
Division 1 North
Loughborough Students ensured they will go into the winter break a point clear at the top, winning 4-1 at Olton & West Warwicks. University of Nottingham remain on their coattails following a 3-0 win at third-placed Cardiff & Met, while Bowdon hit Deeside Ramblers for six to stay fourth. At the other end, Sheffield Hallam and City of Peterborough remain winless. Hallam were beaten 5-2 at Cambridge City in Saturday’s only game while Peterborough went down 4-2 at home to University of Birmingham, who travel to the Steel City for next weekend’s final fixture before Christmas.
Division 1 South
Leaders Reading got back to winning ways, overcoming Oxford Hawks 4-2 to retain their six-point advantage at the summit. Canterbury remain second after coming through a stern test at bottom side Havant, coming from behind to earn a 3-2 victory. Old Cranleighan ended the first half of their season in style, beating Brighton & Hove 4-1, while Southgate edged past Teddington 2-1. There was nothing to split Team Bath Buccs and Sevenoaks, who played out a goalless draw.
Wapping continued their fine form, toppling leaders Old Loughtonians 2-1 to record their third consecutive victory. Neither Richmond nor London Edwardians could make a sizable dent into the gap at the top, however, as the second and third-placed sides drew 2-2 – Old Loughts are four points clear going into the winter break. London Wayfarers won 3-1 at Hampstead & Westminster 2s and there was also an away success for Indian Gymkhana, who triumphed 2-1 at West Herts.
The top two, Harborne and Barford Tigers, both won to keep their unbeaten records intact heading into the winter break. Harborne beat St Albans 5-2 while Barford Tigers came away from Harleston Magpies with a 4-2 victory, meaning it’s as you were at the top with Harborne two points clear. University of Birmingham got off the mark for the campaign at the ninth time of asking, winning 2-1 at Lichfield. The University side remain bottom but are now level points with Khalsa Leamington, who went down 3-2 at Loughborough Town. Bedford climbed to fifth thanks to their 2-1 win at Cambridge University.
Belper cruised to a 5-0 win at previously in-form Alderley Edge to head into the winter break a point clear at the top. Timperley beat strugglers Beeston 2s 2-1 to stay second though Didsbury Northern lost ground after they went down 5-2 at home to Preston. Leeds won the West Yorkshire derby 1-0 at Wakefield while University of Durham ended their three-match losing streak by holding Doncaster to a 1-1 draw.
Ashmoor prevailed in the battle of the top two, winning 2-1 at leaders University of Bristol to cut the gap at the top to a point. There was no shortage of entertainment in the other games either, with Plymouth Marjon coming from 3-0 down to beat Chichester 4-3. All four goals came in the space of five minutes, with Jon Tew netting a quickfire hat-trick. Isca and Clifton Robinsons shared ten goals in a 5-5 thriller while Fareham also netted five, beating Cardiff University 5-2. The clash between bottom two, Cheltenham and University of Exeter 2s, ended 2-2.