The bar was set following a successful 2013/14 season for the Hockey Club. The women’s first XI secured promotion to BUCS 1A, and the season culminated with the acceptance of the University Sports Club of the Year award. With this impressive rap sheet under their belt, pre-season in September signalled the beginning of the hugely anticipated 2014/15 season, where all six hockey teams looked forward to embracing the opportunity to build on previous successes. Development was a key aspect for players of all teams. The Hockey Club, with one of the largest sports memberships in the University, prides itself on a training schedule which provides everyone with equal opportunities to participate and improve in the sport.
In this regard, perhaps the most celebrated development this season, was the creation of the women’s fifth team squad. This is proof of a growing interest within the sport and with a squad of thirty-five girls, mostly composed of freshers, the legacy of the hockey club is destined to remain. The results were impressive too. In their last five games, the team won four, with an impressive 6-2 victory over local rivals Madras in November. The continued success and eagerness of this team has ensured their permanent position within the club. The amassment of positive victories has also increased demand to introduce a more permanent fixture arrangement, perhaps, through their introduction to a BUCS league for the 2015/16 season. With the arrival of more freshers in September, the creation of the fifth XI this year, displays the universality of a club who is willing to accommodate increased playing time, for all levels of players.
Training schedules this season have been rigorous for both the men’s and women’s first XI squads. This reflects the competitive nature of BUCS 1A and the National League division which demands a high level of performance every game. Although, the beginning of the season can be likened to a whirlwind for the women’s first XI squad, the team remained grounded and secured some hard-fought victories. This was more impressive considering the restructuring that was required, following the exit of many senior players, from the winning BUCS 2A team of last year. The women’s squad put in a valiant effort in both Wednesday and Saturday matches, relentlessly attending training sessions and seeking to hone their skills. Their improvement did not go unnoticed, with a strong 3-1 victory, in their last match of the season against a team, which had beat them 7-1 in November. The Men’s team continued to see tangible growth, finishing in second place in their BUCS division, an improvement on last year’s third place. With continued progression, teamwork and commitment, this team will be hoping to fight for top spot next season.
The volume of fixtures which are organised, is testament to a well-structured club, where Committee members, from the umpire secretary to the President, work in tandem to ensure its smooth running. For the women’s second team, change was inescapable and the BUCS league was an opportunity to embed new freshers into a team with a lot of experience. Success was found in their Saturday League, where the team topped the table with a goal difference of 58. For the women’s third XI, the highlight of the 2014/15 season, would undoubtedly be, reaching the finals of the BUCS cup which they unfortunately lost to Aberdeen during Spring Break 4-1. The women’s fourth team placed an encouraging second in BUCS 6A, winning six of 8 matches and being finishing only behind Dundee’s third XI. Meanwhile, the men’s second team was faced with fierce battles in BUCS 3A, competing against tough opposition, notably, the Strathclyde, West of Scotland and Stirling first XIs. Despite, this year being a challenging one, with many of the men’s and women’s teams confronted by tougher opposition, the Club’s resolve suggests that with more training and more practices, each team has the potential to progress.
Overall, then, 2014/15 can be viewed as a year of transition, with most teams towards the end of the season, hitting their stride and recording some excellent victories over tough opponents. The hockey club is home to many talented individuals, who have invested so much time in the sport, throughout their spell at the university. With the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, the club bids farewell to those invaluable senior players who have played their last games in the Saints blue.
Alongside the commitment of players, the men and Women’s first XI would not function as efficiently without the support of their coach, Jamie Carnegie, who was awarded Scottish Hockey’s Coach of the Year for 2014. This high level of coaching coupled with an astroturf pitch accessible all year round, ensures the continued success of a club with a plethora of resources at its disposal.
With over 200 members and its recognised vision to achieve a high sporting level for all teams- the hockey club sets itself ambitious goals. From socials, to recreational hockey, to competitive matches and strength and conditioning sessions, this club continues to cater for a wide array of student athletes. The continued success of this club is cemented in its passion for the sport, determination to secure victories and unrivalled social events which develop a fierce camaraderie between each and every member of the club.