©2019 by Wessex Hockey.

2018/19 Season in Review

Gripping tales of how each team fared this year, as told by the players themselves.

1XI

Western 2A Runners up, BUCS Trophy Finalists, Hampshire Cup Semi Finals

The 18/19 1XI Season was, in a word, Spursy. ‘Twas a season that (in the eyes of SUSU) merited a team of the year nomination but ultimately one which ended in “it’s coming home” levels of disappointment.

The season began with the advent of the exceptionally overambitious “Southgate” set piece; a love train style move which struggled to work at the best of times, yet something about Freddie’s waistcoat just made it seem right. However, the ambitious project was shelved after the tactic caused the Uni of Reading backline to literally laugh out loud, which made us all feel a bit silly and soon sent Freddie off to his birthright destiny as a marketing suit in the City.

The parallels with the World Cup don’t stop there, as much like Gareth’s boys we lived on set pieces, lacked any sort of squad depth and let our 3 properly decent players do all the work. I am of course referring to the Holy trinity itself: Firstly came the holy father Pidge, who did return to us following a year in the wilderness of non-uni life having failed to correctly calculate Control Volume equations through a pipe section.  Second came the return of the son himself, Jesus, rising again after serving a Hampshire ban of more or less 40 days and 40 nights. Thirdly returned to us the holy spirit of Chris Spain, except better yet in the near identical physical form of Dan Smith.

And thus the season began.

Highlights included:

  • Us winning the first round of the Western Conference Cup despite the best efforts of our Captain and his love affair with dragging 60% speed penalty flicks wide of the left post.

  • Beating Exeter 4’s away with 11 men and 10 proper sticks because Callum had left his at home.

  • The Miracle of Trojanbul: for a full & proper report, ask any surviors/witnesses, but essentially coming back from 3-0 down with half an hour to go and leaving all the Solent boys crying into their WKD’s at Pre- bar.

  • Mugging off Bournemouth by tactically losing to them twice in the League before hitting them with a long boiii classic to send us to the cup final in Swansea.

  • Wenzel nearly having to get a long boiii tattoo whilst we shafted Pompey on their home turf at Varisty.

  • That time we played on Saturday in Hampshire and… oh no wait, never mind.  

Unfortunately it all ended in tears as Bath 3’s nipped us at the last in what was one penalty shootout too many for the lads, before we came agonisingly close to turning around a 5-0 half time deficit in a packed (I’m reliably informed that the attendance was over 30) title decider at Wide Lane. And so it is that we spend another year in Western 2A, though this time with half as much Exeter posh nonceage and a spicy derby with Solent to look forward to.

2XI

BUCS Western 2A Survival, Hamphire Division 2

The 2018/19 season was a challenging one for the 2nd XI. Going into the season the team undertook the difficult task of having to rebuild after the substantial loss of players from the season before, either coming to the end of their university career or moving onto the bigger, but not necessarily better, pastures as part of the 1st XI. Not to be deterred however the team went into the season optimistic and ready for anything that could be thrown our way.

It just so happened that our first BUCS fixtured pitted the might of the 2nd XI against their training partners the 1XI. Unfortunately, the early success we had experienced in training games against the 1s could not be transferred into a real game scenario as we suffered our first, but definitely not our last, Bucs defeat.

As the first half of the season continued the team continued to change as players were moved around, one noticeable change being the transfer of Tom Hall from the 3s who quickly made an impression, claiming the starting left back position as his own.

As the team settled and jelled, we began to see success come our way. Most notably in the 4-3 victory against Bournemouth 1XI in the final BUCS fixture before Christmas. This not only set in motion our own winning streak, which would see us beat the top team in our Hampshire league, but also set in motion Bournemouth’s rapid decline in our BUCS league, arguably clearing the way for our own 1XI to go on and contend their own promotion battle, you’re welcome.

For the rest of the season we occupied middle of the table in our Hampshire league, struggling to find much momentum in our Saturday fixtures but putting in consistently promising performances against some good opposition.

In our BUCS league, the success we experienced against Bournemouth appeared to be the highlight of our season as we were unable to record another victory in the league. There were some close games particularly the return fixture against Bournemouth which saw us narrowly miss out, losing 2-1. A special shout-out has to be made to UWE who, despite our best efforts, single handily denied us relegation from our BUCS league by getting themselves banned by their union, not cool guys! (but cheers)

A special thanks from the team to Woody, our regular captain for the majority of the season before getting a spot of the flue and a doctor’s note writing him off for the rest of the season. And also, to Oscar Gaff who in Woody’s absence led the boys in the close of the season, recording a successful 7-1 rooting of Pompey in varsity, capping the season off nicely.

 

I speak for all 2XI players this season in saying despite facing some challenging results it has been a pleasure playing and I look forward to captaining the boys next year.

 

Much Wessex love xx

3XI

BUCS Western 4A Champions

The 2018/19 season for the 3rd XI was all in all a great success. Whether it be the fun we’ve had on the pitch or off it, the team has come together this year to form a tightly knit squad.

 

On Saturday’s in our Hampshire league, the hard work in pre-season paid dividends as we got off to a strong start putting us firmly in the top end of the table. A noticeable highlight was a 4-1 home win against Swanage and Wareham where the team play was exceptional from start to finish and gave us huge momentum going forward. However, a mid-season drop in results pushed us into the middle of the table. Undeterred, we redoubled our efforts and surged towards the top of the table once more putting in some impressive results such as the 6-1 win over Yately, a great comeback from the 0-1 half time score. As we closed in on the end of the season, who would gain the top two promotion spots was anyone’s guess and we were a strong contender. However, we fell just three points short of promotion this year. The aim for next year will definitely be promotion as we have shown this year we are more than capable of it.

 

Our Wednesday BUCS league was the highlight of our season. From the very start it was clear we were favorites to take the title. With only one shock defeat to Winchester in a 6-8 nail biter we were crowned champions with a ten point chasm between us and second place, thus gaining promotion to the next league. The 3-1 win away at Marjons was a memorable moment of the season and easily our most difficult game, the team did well to adapt to the opposition and is why we came out on top. For next season a relegation scrap might be on the cards but with how comfortably we won the league this season there is no reason we couldn’t be a big player in the league above.

In Hampshire cup we beat Yately 10-0 but then drew Fareham 2s who happen to be six leagues above us. This unfortunately ended our cup run. In the BUCS cup we unfortunately did not pass the first round despite drawing Bristol sixes, for every cup upset there is undoubtably a team who ends up upset.

Individual performances were also strong this year with Joe Taylor taking the golden stick on 18 goals for the season, particularly impressive given his early season goal drought. Leo Nolan picked up player of the season for his majestic displays in midfield. Other noticeable performances came from Oli Brown who hugely improved his fitness and became an integral part of the defence. Laurence Deakin gets the most improved player of the season award after coming from the 5s to be a brick wall in the goal mouth.

 

A big thanks to my vice-captain Toby Fox who was not only an outstanding player on the pitch but incredibly helpful in team organization.

Finishing with a win rate of 69% (that's right) is impressive for any team and shows great promise for the future. I’m sure the 3rd XI are in safe hands as Joe Ellis takes over as captain next year!

4XI

BUCS Western 4A, Hampshire Cup semis. 5's ringers.

The 2018/19 season was a turbulent one for the 4s on the pitch with mixed results but off the pitch a great success, forming (as I’m sure you’ll all agree) the best social side in the club and witnessing some pretty spectacular moments

Typically, throughout the season (in classic 4s fashion), our results from week to week depended on how many of us went too hard on Friday night or whether or not we’d managed to recruit any ringers to do all the hard work for us.

A particular highpoint of the early season was Tim’s first game as Wessex coach, where he witnessed us play some truly disgraceful hockey and end up the wrong side of a 6-1 thrashing, but we were definitely the moral winners, with Hamish scoring a p-flick in his pads having played as keeper the entire 2nd half (taking over from Brillo who I hear was god awful but I wouldn’t know as I turned up at halftime sweating pure jesticles). Great first impression we set to Tim there, good stuff boys.

Another highlight was our away trip to Portsmouth and Southsea where our Captain fantastic really screwed the pooch by getting the meet time half an hour late (and then being late for that too) meaning we had to start the game with 7 players and our striker playing CB only to keep a clean sheet until our full team arrived, but even then we only managed a 1-1 draw against a team that ended the season with a gd of -110. Smashed it lads, well done.

Towards the end of the season, our form picked up as we began to gel more as a team, not surprising as by this point the mighty 4.5s had formed and so most of us were playing 2 games every Saturday. We had a good run of form(!) with a particularly sweet win being a 4-1 obliteration of Southampton 3s in which we may have witnessed some of the most questionable umpiring… It’ll take a long time to forget “You can cheer… But just be less enthusiastic on the bench”.

 All in all we finished strong, securing safety in our own league. We ended up 8th, with 7 wins, 2 draws and 13 losses, finishing with 20pts and -31 gd. That aside, we completed the greatest escape of all time by saving the 5s from relegation with a totally not-suspicious late season form transformation. (good thing we had agent Clangus to keep it top-secret and not telling a team at teas) “We’re just off, got another game, all playing for the 5s”. Nice work there, fella.

Our BUCS campaign started off a little rocky, epitomised by the first Wessex derby in which we showed our gentlemanly class allowing the 3s boost their goal difference to help them on their way to a league win. The chastening defeat was made worse as we lost Killick and Duffy in the process because they’d got boring in their old age and so left us for the classic “retirement homes” of Wessex, otherwise known as the 3s and 2s.

 We did eventually manage to produce some moments of class, winning our first game of the season in our last match before the Christmas break by beating Marjons 2-0. In terms of our BUCS cup run we crashed out 3-1 to Bristol, in Freddie's last game at Wessex, even though we had 7 actual 4s players out of a squad of 15. An away trip to Bournemouth proved memorable, where we turned up with 10 men and Mr. Koohy in goal and yet somehow managed to produce one of our best performances all season pushing them right until the end.

Nearing the season end we conjured up a great win against Winchester, with the final score a nail-biting 4-3. However, the game will almost certainly be known for Monsieur Koohy confusing hockey with MMA when he fly-kicked their striker which led to a very nervy final minute, and the rest of us defending for our lives.

Our best chance of glory this season was most definitely our Hampshire cup run, all was going so well when we set ourselves up with a semi-final showdown with Poole 2s, taking 6 ones players and a squad full of ringers. It all started off well going into the 2nd half 2-0 up! Let’s just not mention what happened from then on, other than a shout out to Brillo for getting me sent off for abusing the umpire even though he was sat on the bench. A massive thank you to this year’s captain Sameer Patel for not only his work on the field and organization but for the role he played to integrate so many new members into Wessex and making the transition from freshers to senior members a whole lot easier.

Big shout outs also to Cameron Browning for his ongoing support of the team and role in forming the 4.5s and this year’s vice-captain Richard Taylor for supporting Sam and the team throughout the season on and off the pitch. All in all, despite a turbulent season of results the 4s have formed a tight group of friends and have improved massively over the last year, and with the majority of the squad staying on for next season I can’t wait to have the privilege of captaining these boys to success in both BUCs and Hampshire.

5XI

Hampshire Division 6 Survival

The 18/19 season for the 5th XI was certainly a memorable one, and although with maybe not the most desirable outcome, the team should still be proud.
Having moved up to division 6 and loosing a large number of players, things got off to a rocky start. Loosing the first 14 games was a big knock to moral with a particular blow to the ego occurring against Alton 2s loosing 15-1 when we first met. Determined to get a better result when we next clashed, we were struck with a set back, due to a limited number of drivers only 10 men played, and after an gruelling effort ended up short at only 15-0.
However towards the end of the season strengthened with some new recruits our luck began to change. With only 6 games left to play we beat Gosport 2s 6-2.
Inspired by this new hope, and with the fortitude to avoid relegation, we persevered.
Poole 2s had the misfortune of reading the timings of the game and so the first of the shortened halves saw their 7 men face the full force of an improvised ultra-offensive formation quickly scoring 6 goals before the rest of their team turned up. Poole played well and looked on the verge of a comeback but digging deep when the final whistle blew the score was 7-4.
By the time the season was over Cameron Browing ended his captaincy in a blaze of glory, winning 4 out the last 6 games and saving the 5s from relegation. Some of the highlights of this season may not be from skilful performances although Jim Hartung and Cameron Browing’s must get a mention, carrying the team on several occasions.
Harry Walker, when asked to umpire a game tried to suck a whistle instead of blowing, which was a particularly memorable event, as was his great header of the ball requiring him to have several stitches. With new changes to the 5s, next season will be eagerly anticipated and the 5th XI will be lead by Connor Johnson next year.