Strong defence the key to Hockey success

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Photo by Matt Chadd
After a tremendous season, the Men’s third hockey team must be serious contenders for team of the year. The team won Conference division 5A by just one point over the University of Cumbria, having won seven, drawn two and lost only one over the course of the season. They also boasted a 69.7% win ratio over the league and cup combined.

Captain Elliott Thompson admitted: “We started the season with the strongest squad the thirds have had for years and possibly even ever”. The season started badly for the team, as they lost their first game to Manchester seconds 2-1 as the team suffered from having had very little training time before the league started. However this was to be their only league loss of the year.

The team recovered in fine style from their poor start as they cruised to a 7-1 home win versus Liverpool Hope and things immediately started to look brighter for the club. Having said that, their next match saw them up against Liverpool seconds in the cup, who are two divisions above Lancaster in the leagues and saw a 3-0 slump to defeat against a far superior team. However, this proved to be the final loss of the season for them.

Lancaster eased to a 4-0 win versus Glyndwr before sneaking a 1-0 win away at the University of Cumbria. Lancaster’s dominant defence was one of the key features throughout the year that helped them to be so successful. The team only conceded nine goals in their ten league games.

However, it was not all plain sailing from there. The team suffered once more from a lack of match practice as November to February saw a period of almost three months without a single game due to the adverse weather conditions. Lancaster drew the first two games back after this break 1-1 with Manchester and 0-0 with Liverpool Hope who they had earlier beaten 7-1.

With two matches of the season to play, the league was to be contested between the two local rivals: Lancaster and Cumbria. Incidentally, the penultimate game of the season was a home match between these two teams. Lancaster, spurred on by a fantastic team of supporters, surged to an all-important 3-1 win that would see Lancaster leading the league by a point going into the final game of the season.

Once again, fantastic support was shown as Lancaster battled for league glory against Manchester’s fifth team. Manchester took a surprise 2-0 lead. Ultimately, Lancaster were too strong for their opponents as they triumphed 5-2 to pick up the league title.

The team’s success didn’t stop there. Being one of a handful of teams to have never lost at Roses, the pressure was on. However, Lancaster triumphed 1-0 in a hotly contested game involving many suspected biased decisions towards the home team, York. Lancaster’s defence stood strong under immense pressure and could have quite easily doubled their tally on numerous occasions. In the end the one goal was enough to see the team pick up their now customary Roses win.

Captain Thompson told SCAN: “The stand out moment of the season has to be winning the league courtesy of the win over Manchester. However my favourite win of the year was the 3-1 win over rival Cumbria, as we set ourselves up for potential league glory.”

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