St Albans Hockey Club promoted to National League

St Albans following their 4-0 win over Blueharts. Picture by Chris Hobson

St Albans following their 4-0 win over Blueharts. Picture by Chris Hobson - Credit: Archant

ST ALBANS will clash heads with the very best teams in the country next season after securing a spot in the National League.

Saturday’s 4-0 win over Blueharts handed St Albans the East Men Premier League ‘A’ Division title, one point ahead of Bedford.

David Williams got the ball rolling with a first half strike before adding another after the break. Steve Friend and Jacob Langley confirmed the visitors’ supremacy, the final goal being a superb passing movement involving several players and culminating with a roll into the unguarded net.

First XI player/coach Matt Bowen told the Herts Ad he couldn’t be prouder of his squad.

“I’m extremely happy, not just for me but for the boys. They have worked hard, dug in and played really well and got what they deserved,” he said.

Bowen explained that he instilled a positive team ethic while building a stout defence behind a fluid attacking side, leading to the season’s success. But he praised the team for responding to his system and executing it all the way to the league crown.

With promotion comes tougher challenges against the country’s elite teams, something Bowen is all too aware of having played in the National League previously.

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“Every game will be a battle,” he added.

“We will have to be confident enough to go at the bigger teams in the league and know our hockey will get us the points we need.

“We have a team that will compete – we’re not going to be a yo-yo team.”

The men’s promotion means St Albans have two clubs at the sport’s elite level after the ladies accomplished the same feat.

Bowen said it has been a long time coming.

“St Albans is an ambitious club which hasn’t been in the higher leagues for a couple of years. This is the first team of a long term plan,” he said.

“For the size of the club, and the ladies getting promoted, we had to get there and it’s great for the club that we did.

“St Albans City has successful clubs in football, rugby and now hockey. St Albans can be a beacon of top quality hockey. That will feed through the club to all levels and will also be great for the city.”