Tangerines men follow in the footsteps of women as thirds named champions

Andy Tyler

Andy Tyler - Credit: Archant

Our continuing review of the season for St Albans Hockey Club has reached the men’s section and just like with their female counterparts there was title joy for the third team.

St Albans Hockey Club's home at Oaklands College.

St Albans Hockey Club's home at Oaklands College. - Credit: Archant

Playing in Division Three South West of the East Hockey League, the threes, who are also known as the Senators, have been running for almost as long as the club have existed.

And they kept up that grand tradition to finish three points clear of Stevenage after winning 15 and drawing one of their 20 games.

Andy Tyler finished the year as the team’s top scorer.

There were a couple of third-place finishes elsewhere for the fifths and the sevenths.

A good blend of “much-needed young blood” coupled with some “frail old men that still run around” became a recipe for success through the campaign.

Tom Linzell and Harry Durham, along with Josh Wearing, took control from the back while the midfield saw the youthful exuberance of Lucas Siu dovetail nicely with the experience of Jack Howard.

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Up front James Durham was top scorer while Martin Jones caused a lot of grief for opposition defences.

The sevenths meanwhile had Chris Huddleston as their main marksman while the development of more and more players through the ranks was a season highlight.

The seconds finished seventh in a difficult season in East League Premier B.

The team changed from being underdogs going into most matches, to being the dominant team and it took some time to adjust to this new dynamic which resulted in quite a few draws early in the season.

Overall they were able to out-play most teams but often struggled to create and put away opportunities.

They did finish strongly climbing up the table quickly after beating several of the teams around them.

The top goal scorer was Charlie Beedle.

The fourths placed ninth in Division Three South West but they always knew that the standard of the division would prove a challenge.

That said they knew they had the talent to deliver and did so on a number of occasions, most notably an 8-0 trouncing of Harpenden.

A second victory against Harpenden and a draw against Potters Bar did little to distance them from the bottom clubs but a 3-2 success over West Herts in a must-win game was enough to see them safe for another season.

George Turner and Ethan Templeton were the top scorers.

The Sixes managed to field a full team for every game this season and were able to pull through some promising talent from the sevenths. This significantly reduced the number of games lost.

That was enough for an final position of eighth and away from the relegation that some had tipped them for.

Dom Fenn’s goals led the way for the eighth team as they finished ninth in Division Seven South West while the 10ths finished two places higher in the division to places lower.

The ninth team had a very entertaining if split season as they finished ninth in Division Eight South West.

They started the season with six losses before stopping the rot with a couple of draws.

However, they finished the calendar year with a much-needed win and that laid the foundations for a change in fortunes.

More wins followed and as teams around them began to falter, they started to climb slowly but inexorably away from the foot of the table.

Having managed only two wins and two draws from 12 games before Christmas, they ended up with five successes in eight matches during 2020.

That was enough to keep them above the bottom three teams and safe from relegation, even with their final match at home to Harpenden cancelled.

The team’s player of the season award went to Neil Tinworth.

There was one black cloud for the team and the club following the death of their “newest and most enthusiastic recruit” Andy Rogers.

A spokesman for the team said: Despite only being with the team a short time, Andy made an immediate impression, not only with his play and commitment on the pitch but his enthusiasm and great personality off it.

“He will be greatly missed and we are indebted to Andre Hugo for introducing him to the team.”