Cancelled season a blow to the trophy hopes of Saints’ masters and mixed teams
- Credit: Archant
The final review of the season for St Albans Hockey Club looks at the club’s other teams, ones who don’t necessarily fall into any one category, but ones who like their club-mates enjoyed plenty of triumphs.
The masters teams have shown over the years that with age comes experience but no-less talent or ability.
Last season both the over-35 and over-45 teams reached finals so there was plenty to live up to.
The 45s started their campaign away at Amersham & Chalfont and rolled to a classy and comfortable 6-0 win, a score they repeated in the next round, also in Buckinghamshire, although this time at Wycombe.
The last 16 game against Bishop’s Stortford was nearly postponed due to frost but a change in venue saw the game on as planned.
It was tougher than previously but in the end a 3-1 win took the team to the quarter finals.
Storm Dennis almost proved the bigger opponent but the Tangerines rode the storm to record a 4-0 home win over Norwich City.
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But with a semi-final, and spa weekend, away to Timperley in Cheshire on the horizon, the season was brought to a crashing end, denying Saints the chance.
Sarah Embrey hit seven goals while Liz Cleverly managed five.
Lou Jackman, Jen Birch and Helen Waddell finished on three and there were doubles for AM Davenport and Lottie Madle-Simpson. Aly Lord, Jo Weston, Julie McConell, Donna Pringle, Annie Barratt and Helen Anton also scored.
Dawny Forshaw, Sue Owen, Sarah Rider, Miche Bloch, Emma Turner, Angela Byrne, Liz Morgan, Linda Parker, Sara Robinson, Fiona Coope, Mary Oswin, Sian Ireland and Sue Hicks made up the rest of the 2019-2020 squad.
The O35s started their season against Barnes and it needed a 2-1 penalty shoot-out victory following a 1-1 draw to see they progress to round two.
There they met UK Armed Forces and with the team gelling far better, they raced to a 3-0 success.
The best performance came against Wapping in round three. Storm Clara this time forced a delay but when the sides met St Albans picked up a stunning 7-1 win.
However, thoughts of another final ended in the round of 16 when they lost on penalties to Bromley & Beckenham, a squad who had many of their players still turning out at National League level.
The squad was made up of Mel Insall, Miche Bloch, Jo Weston, Donna McGuigan, Donna Pringle, Simone Burns, Sarah Embrey, Marie Jones, Helen Waddell, Jo Moxham, Lottie Madle-Simpson, Julie McConnell, Emma Barnfield, AM Davenport, Jen Birch, Mar Copues-Out, Sarah Cullum, Annie Barratt and Liz Cleverly.
The mixed team had earned a top-four placing in 2017 but followed that up with two indifferent campaigns and two early exits from the England Hockey competition.
This year though was far better for a new-look side anchored by some old faces.
A 2-1 win in round one over Milton Keynes did not do justice to the Saints’ performance as they comfortably eased into the next round.
A bad-tempered match at home to Harrow came in round two but vice-captain and short-corner specialist Sarah Mobbs saw through, with their reward another home game and another strong, resolute and ultimately comfortable win, Thame the side sent packing this time.
Yet another home tie in round four brought Hampstead & Westminster to fortress Oaklands but despite the strength of the visitors’ side, they weren’t strong enough as Saints won through 4-1.
That earned them a place in the last 16 of the Mixed Cup, although for once maps were needed as it took them to Reading.
All hopes that those roads were eventually lead to the final at Lee Valley was ended abruptly by the coronavirus crisis with all hockey first suspended and then cancelled.
However, an unbeaten season will still be remembered with great affection.