The Club Column: Men’s Hockey

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First things first, hockey is an exciting, fast-paced and action-packed sport. We’re also pretty good at it in this country, shown by the GB Women’s team, who won gold in Rio. We see ourselves as Lancaster University’s most inclusive society; we are fairly unique in the fact that we welcome all ability levels. The diverse range of ability and experience levels really is a strength of the club, as every different type of person is represented, and members can find the level of commitment to hockey that’s right for them. Combined with LUWHC, the hockey club is one of the biggest on campus, meaning members are bound to make hundreds of friends.

We are also a LUSU Focus Club, meaning that we get extra funding from LUSU. In the past, we only had 1 coach between 3 teams, but this extra funding has meant that we have hired a coach specifically to work with the 2nd and 3rd XI, meaning that everyone gets the attention they deserve. Whether you’re in the 1st XI or the Development Squad, you’re treated the same, and everybody has the opportunity to experience some high-class coaching.

In terms of the year so far, we’ve had an extremely successful Freshers’ Week, with around 50 people turning up to trials, compared to around 20 in the past few years. We’ve had some really high quality players entering the club, which is pushing other members to play to their best abilities too. On the pitch the season is going fantastically. At the time of writing, 8 BUCS games have been played and 8 BUCS games have been won. The 1st XI are also doing well in their Saturday League too, sitting in mid-table but with some momentum after two consecutive wins.

Along with the 1st XI, we have a 2nd and 3rd team who compete in BUCS. We also run a Development Squad/JustPlay session on a Thursday for more casual members, you can check out the JustPlay Hockey account on Facebook for more information if you’re interested. The Development Squad has been created following our excellent freshers’ turn out. We’re currently liaising with other uni hockey clubs in the area about the possibility of friendly fixtures in the near future for the Development Squad, so that they will become an integral part of the club. The growth of the club is really exciting.

We also have social members who come and support us at games as well as get involved on a Wednesday and Saturday night during our socials. The social side of the club certainly doesn’t go unnoticed, with some of the most enjoyable and imaginative socials that the university has to offer, whether it be Fall of Rome or Cletus’ funeral. The whole club turns up to celebrate on a Wednesday and a Saturday, with around 50 members turning up for the first social of the year. The club also goes on tour during the Easter holidays, an experience that lives long in the memory, and something that not many other societies in Lancaster can offer.

Looking back to the 2015/16 season, it was a mixed bag for the club. The 1st XI suffered double disappointment in the form of relegation in their BUCS and Saturday Leagues, something which they’ve atoned for already this year. The 2nd XI had an encouraging season, finishing 3rd in their league, a significant improvement on the year before, whilst the 3rd XI narrowly missed out on promotion.

Roses 2016 started out promisingly, with a dramatic, last-gasp victory for the Indoor 2nd XI to start proceedings off. Although the games and scorelines were a lot closer than Roses 2015, ultimately York got the better of us. We were disappointed with the results from Roses 2016, but with our strong fresher intake, we are confident of improving considerably next year. The boys are already working hard with the pain of Roses 2016 in mind.

As briefly mentioned before, an undoubted highlight for anyone in the club was the win for the 2nd XI during Indoor at Roses 2016. The atmosphere was electric inside the Sports Hall, with air horns blasting and everyone cheering the team on. Indoor hockey is definitely something to look out for at Roses 2017, as it is so breathtaking and fast-paced, and the condensed space inside the hall makes for a deafening atmosphere from both sets of fans. Lancaster were awarded a penalty flick in the last minute of the 2016 game, and Michael Holmes stepped up to coolly slot past the York keeper and spark wild celebrations as the 2nd XI secured a 4-3 victory.

Another highlight for the club was the first BUCS Wednesday of this season. The 1st XI hadn’t won a BUCS game for 2 years, and smashed that record in magnificent style, thrashing Keele 1s 9-0. The 2nd XI then followed that up with a 10-1 victory of their own against Keele 2s, whilst the 3rd XI emerged victorious by 3 goals to 0 against Manchester 4s. All 3 teams being at home meant a special atmosphere was created, as the 1st XI got a considerable monkey off of their proverbial backs. The night that followed was also particularly memorable.

We launched our new website over the summer, which you can find at lumhc.com. Unlike all other university societies, our website and social media are updated daily, with match reports from every single game, weekly newsletters and profiles on our website of every squad member.

If you ever have a time free on a Wednesday afternoon, come down and support the boys at the Astros, home support really makes a difference. Bring your friends and get involved with Lancaster University’s most inclusive society!

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