Mixed season for first teams but Tangerines boss delighted with ‘great year’ for the club
- Credit: Archant
St Albans Hockey Club have celebrated another bumper year at their Oaklands College base after the season was brought to an end.
In an article originally published on their own website, CEO Becky Turner hailed the campaign as a whole throughout the club.
She said: “The season came to a sudden end due to the coronavirus outbreak but despite that we’ve had a great year with four senior teams winning promotion, although the men’s 7ths declined to go up in order to stay at a more appropriate level for youngsters progressing to adult hockey.
“At the time of the premature closure of the club, planning was well underway for the ladies’ and men’s dinners as well as the club day. All these events have been postponed and many teams are arranging virtual end-of-season parties.
“Over the next few months, we will start to plan next season.”
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The campaign for the two first teams proved very differing.
The men had begun the year in a new division after promotion, the National Conference East, and it proved to a good baptism at the higher level with a final league position of fifth.
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It got off to a fine start with wins over Cambridge City, Harleston Magpies and rivals Old Loughts and although there were some rocky matches in the middle of the campaign, leads against Harleston and Bromley & Beckenham surrendered into defeats, victories over Wapping and Spencer in two of the toughest games set-up the finale.
A spokeswoman said: “The realisation that we’d not managed to beat any team twice really put the pressure on during the final few games of the season.
“Our attacking style continued to provide ample opportunities to win games but unlike the first half of the year, we struggled to convert these into goals.
“The last game against Cambridge City was to be our last chance to get that elusive second win and help decide promotion, but the league was suspended.
“Experience against the other teams in the league is always key in getting results,and we’ve learned a lot this year, putting us in a good position to challenge for a higher placing next season.”
Teague Mercano not only topped the club’s goal-scoring charts but also that of the league, along with Cambridge City’s Gareth Andrew, with a total of 18.
The ladies too had earned promotion last year, playing this season in the second tier National Division One South.
But unlike their male colleagues, the step-up proved difficult eventually finishing 10th and facing relegation.
They had welcomed new faces in the summer and were looking forward to building as a unit.
The pace of the game at this level proved something they struggled to deal with initially but the strong finish to the campaign, a 3-2 win away to Sevenoaks, as well as the experience over the course of the year, should stand them in good stead for 2020-21.