St Albans planning for national league already after picking up sixth straight win against Saffron Walden
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
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.
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.
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.
But skipper Matt Davey knows that this is just a stepping stone on a far-greater journey for the club.
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.
“This year there will be four going up as part of a restructure so we should be ok.
“But it’s more about building up as a team and being ready for national league hockey at the end of the season.
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“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.”
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.
Davey said: “We can’t have asked for a better start, to have won them all and averaged over six a game.
“In previous seasons we’ve concentrated on goalscoring but that’s now coming through.
“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.
“But we can fix that.
“We’ve just added one or two new threats up front and have now got some really quick guys up front.
“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.