1st XI Round-Up | Term 1
Looking back on Term 1 everyone who has played with the 1s deserves so much
credit, the ten weeks have whizzed by and were jam-packed with so much as well as all our hockey. We began the season with an amazing preseason which all thanks to our Performance Sport team, as well as an incredible tour to Amsterdam. On tour we were lucky enough to have a training session at one of the clubs, play (and win!) against a local team and even watch some really high level hockey at Amsterdam HC.
Our Saturday league started off with some really promising wins, continuing our successful streak for a few weeks! With the momentum of a really motivating and beneficial preseasons, we played some really comfortable hockey to secure a place in the top 3 of the league table. Despite, as with every year, the team really changing around in the first few weeks, everyone delivered their best performances right from the start in these early matches. Special mention goes out to the defensive line who, with only one of the regular defenders from the previous season, stepped up so quickly to become the solid foundation we’ve all come to completely trust (talking about you Ellie and Rhiannon!). Additionally, our new coach Tom made a real difference by match-managing a lot more games than we had been used to, and our prospects looked so good going forward!
As the term got into full swing we had our first BUCS fixture against Nottingham 3s, which reminded us how high a standard our Wednesday fixtures would be. Each week our focus became playing really composed hockey under pressure, making the most of our chances breaking out of defence and trying out more defensive formations such as 4-4-2. Again shout-outs go to Mari for always keeping the score down and our steady defenders, in some really tough fixtures against very good sides. One particular highlight for me was Bridget’s goal equalising in the very close match against Brum 4s, which we unfortunately lost 2-1 despite our really determined play. Another appreciation goes to Lauryn and Vicky who have worked tirelessly on the forward line, always playing their hardest, I now can’t believe they ever played for the 2s last season, they have really earned their place on the team in these difficult games. Overall the majority of our BUCS fixtures have been very difficult matches, but the level of hockey we step up and play on Wednesdays is so promising and I think I speak for many of the team in saying that the faster, stronger standard of opposition is a lot more exciting than in Saturday league.
Week 8 brought us our first Cup match against Bath 2s, which I think we all anticipated with a mixture of excitement and nerves. At the last minute Henney and Caroline stepped up from the 2s to make up for the effects of deadlines and injuries. Both played some brilliant hockey, with Henney speeding down the wing and Caroline extremely trust-worthy in defence, well done guys you raised your game in a really tense match. The whole team played so well together, it didn’t feel at all different from our usual line-up, and the score remained 0-0 for most of the game. Unfortunately Bath scored a really lucky deflection off a short-corner and won the game 1-0, however I was so proud of our performance against such a strong sporting uni in a game that had a lot of nerves surrounding it and we certainly rattled Bath who were expecting to win easily.
A review of the first term of course wouldn’t be complete without mention of our freshers, including Abi who graced our forward line with her speed for a while at the start of term. Although she was only here for one term, Daura very soon became a fixed part of our defensive line, always delivering brilliant passes from 16s and making awesome tackles as centre-back. We miss you already, and will really feel your absence when hockey starts again after Christmas! Similarly by the end of the term, Camilla and Henney became more regular members of the team, really proving themselves with their skill and determination in every match, and I can’t wait to see them carry on improving next term!
All in all Term 1 brought us some awesome fixtures, in which the 1s continued to deliver. Although some Saturday games against the top of the league meant we slipped a little in the rankings, we’re in a great position going into next term, bring on next year!