Sticks at the ready

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Photo by Tom Starbek-Wazynski

Lancaster’s Men’s Hockey Thirds won the Northern Conference Men’s 5A League by a single point with a 5-2 victory against Manchester Fifths on the final day of the league season to clinch promotion for the side. An impressive tally of seven wins, two draws and only two losses  means the Thirds will go on to face Lancaster Men’s Seconds next year in the Men’s 4A League.

In an interview with SCAN, Tom Crawford, an integral member of the Thirds’ solid defence last year, had this to say; “this season will be a big test for the team due to the promotion and a big step up in class, but we’re looking forward to the competition in the new league.

“Our biggest strength last season was our spirit; the best example of this was during the last game of the season against Manchester when we had to avoid defeat to become champions with Manchester the team in second. We found ourselves 2-0 down within 20 minutes, but came back to win 5-2 and become champions. We had a solid defence too. We were a strong unit at the back and kept it tight in the games.

“We played some very good hockey all season but were a little inconsistent and sometimes started games too slowly. This year we will not be able to afford to do this so I guess that is something we will have to work on.”

The Thirds will also be desperate to retain their impressive record of being only one of two teams to never have lost at Roses, alongside the Lancaster Bombers American Football team. A convincing 2-0 victory over York at last year’s Roses saw the Thirds retain this record and their special place in the history of the tournament.

Elsewhere, the Men’s Seconds will be looking to improve on a mid-table finish last season. Inconsistent form cost them dearly when a promising start of three back-to-back victories was followed by three back-to-back losses which also saw them dumped out of the cup in the second round at the hands of the Manchester Seconds.

The Lancaster Women’s Seconds and Thirds could also manage little more than mid-table finishes last season. The Women’s Seconds won six games and lost five, but had a good run of home form, losing only one home game to eventual league champions the University of Manchester Women’s Fifths.

The same Manchester side seemed to be a bogey team for the Lancaster Women, knocking the Women’s Thirds out of the cup with a 17-0 victory. The cup run of the Women’s Seconds proved to be equally unsuccessful with a 1-0 defeat to yet another Manchester-based side, Manchester Metropolitan University Seconds.

So it looks like another exciting Hockey season is ahead of us and many questions remain. Will the Men’s 3rds manage to avoid relegation? Will they manage to retain their unbeaten run at Roses, and will the Men’s 2nds, Women’s 2nds and Women’s 3rds, manage to improve on their mid-table finishes last year?

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