The men’s teams finished the season in style with the 2nd XI securing promotion as runners up in league 9SW having played 20, won 15, drawn 3 and lost 2 – a terrific performance from a new squad combining youth and experience, with several players completely new to hockey or stepping up from the junior section for the first time.
Whilst the men’s 1st XI narrowly missed out on promotion finishing third in league 4SW, the stats of played 22, won 13, drawn 2 and lost 7 don’t tell the full story. After five matches, it was played 5 lost 5, but a remarkable turnaround in form saw them surge up the table from November onwards, scoring freely in attack but equally miserly in defence, and forcing their way into contention in the league.
Meanwhile, the ladies section had a bit of a mixed season with this year definitely being a building year for the future. The ‘even greater escape’ was successful for the ladies 1s who secured 10th and avoided relegation from the Middlesex Premier division having played 22, won 3, drawn 6 and lost 13. After a great 5-0 win in the first game of the season, things got a little tougher, but they persevered and live to fight another day.
The ladies 2nd XI finished a comfortable 8th in Division 3, playing 20, winning 7, drawing 2 and losing 11. This season saw a wealth of new players coming up from the junior section and really making a difference in the team and learning from the more experienced players. The future looks bright for this new team.
The club celebrated at the end of a long (and extended!) season with its annual members’ dinner and awards night at the clubhouse.
Club Person of the Year – Nick Smith
Nick started the season playing in defence for the 2nd XI, before quickly returning to his more familiar position in goal. He played for the 2s, he played for the 1s, sometimes back-to-back on the same day. He played for the mixed team. He dropped everything to help the club out at short notice, when let down by others. He coached the juniors on a Sunday morning. He coached our new ladies goalkeeper on a Wednesday night. He’s the first name down on the teamsheet each week, and a very worthy and popular winner of the Club Person of the Year award.
Karen Goode has been a key player in the 1st XI this year as with previous years. She manages to come away from every situation with the ball and has been instrumental in the midfield both helping push forward but also always being there to defend. Never one to miss a game she has been incredibly dedicated this year and it shows in her gameplay.
After a difficult start to the season, it was the return of ‘Jimbo’ in November that made all the difference. Solid in the centre of defence, great distribution around the pitch, and his 8 converted penalty corner goals transformed the fortunes of the 1st XI and propelled them up the league to a fine 3rd place finish.
The 2nd XI started the season with no goalkeeper but that all changed when Freya joined the team. Saving a flick on her debut, she’s fearless in goal even taking on the men’s 1st XI in training. She and her brilliant attitude have made a real difference to the season.
A year ago Leo had never picked up a hockey stick. But after being roped in to help out the 2nd XI at the beginning of the season, he scored on his debut and never looked back, playing every match for the 2s and returning an impressive 11 goals, wrapping up the season by scoring on his debut for the 1st XI in the final match.
2nd XI forward Kelly Davids was the winner of top goalscorer this year with a total of 9 goals. Not as high scoring as the men’s section but until the last weekend of the season, it was a close race between a number of ladies before Kelly managed to run away with it.
1st XI striker Tim Mall took home the honours with a fine return of 26 goals, securing top spot with a magnificent 5 (yes five!) goals in his final game, and playing a key role in turning around the fortunes of the team.
From early in the season it looked like the men’s 2nd XI were a shoe-in for the prize until the fast-finishing men’s first team pushed them close with their fine run of performances in the second half of the season. However, the men’s 2s kept on winning and held on to the top team trophy.