St Albans planning for national league already after picking up sixth straight win against Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 November 2018

Luke Kennedy celebrates scoring for St Albans in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Luke Kennedy celebrates scoring for St Albans in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

St Albans Hockey Club’s men may still be going all out for the East League Premier Division title but they already have one eye on next season and a tilt at the national leagues.

Jeff Parker defends in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOJeff Parker defends in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

A restructure of the top divisions in England mean that instead of just the champions going up, four will take their places in the second tier of hockey in England.

Dillet Gilkes runs forward in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOODillet Gilkes runs forward in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Not that the Tangerines are leaving anything to chance as a comprehensive 6-2 win over Saffron Walden made it six out of six and strengthened their position on the top of the pile.

Jeff Parker in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOJeff Parker in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

But skipper Matt Davey knows that this is just a stepping stone on a far-greater journey for the club.

Matt Davey lines up a shot in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOMatt Davey lines up a shot in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

He said: “Since I joined it’s been our mission to get back up as soon as possible but with the quality in this league, compared to other regions, it is really difficult to get out.

Jeff Parker looks for a pass in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOJeff Parker looks for a pass in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“This year there will be four going up as part of a restructure so we should be ok.

Tariq Marcano on the attack in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOTariq Marcano on the attack in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“But it’s more about building up as a team and being ready for national league hockey at the end of the season.

Saffron Walden dribble out of defence in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOSaffron Walden dribble out of defence in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“It’s not just about playing for the win and the championship, although that’s what we want, it’s also about playing for next year.”

Ian Scanlon looks to attack the box in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOIan Scanlon looks to attack the box in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

All that said though the side have pushed all aside so far this year and despite visitors Walden taking an 11th-minute lead, there was only one side going to win the Oaklands College showdown.

Matt Davey shoots from a short corner in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOMatt Davey shoots from a short corner in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

Davey said: “We can’t have asked for a better start, to have won them all and averaged over six a game.

Mark Lowden plays a pass in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOMark Lowden plays a pass in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“In previous seasons we’ve concentrated on goalscoring but that’s now coming through.

Matt Davey shoots from a short corner in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOMatt Davey shoots from a short corner in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“We’ve always been good defensively but its good to see we’re starting to actually put some of the chances away, even if it’s at the cost of letting a few more in than we usually do.

Tariq Marcano on the ball in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOTariq Marcano on the ball in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“But we can fix that.

Saffron Walden on the attack in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOSaffron Walden on the attack in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“We’ve just added one or two new threats up front and have now got some really quick guys up front.

Luke Kennedy scores for St Albans in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOOLuke Kennedy scores for St Albans in the match between St Albans and Saffron Walden men's first teams. Picture: DANNY LOO

“Before that we didn’t score too many goals in open-play and were having to wait on corners but now we’ve managed to open it up and take more chances.”

Pete Cornell bagged two in the win while Ian Scanlon, Hugo Christie, Tariq Marcano and Luke Kennedy all chipped in with one.

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