The last couple of weeks have seen plenty of success and drama for the Hockey Club. At the start of February, the Men’s 1s snatched the league title in dramatic circumstances from Exeter and a week later on February 11, the Women’s 3s won their league rather more comfortably.
Going into the final day of the league season, the Men’s 1s needed Exeter to lose against Bristol to have any chance of claiming the tile. This did not look likely as Bristol were fighting to stay up, but against all the odds, our close neighbours defeated the Devon outfit 3-2. The news filtered though in Bath and the celebrations were truly underway with welcome drinks that evening. According to Freddie Everett, the Men’s 1s goalkeeper and Chairman of the Hockey Club, the committee’s main aim was “to improve performance of all teams and ensure we distance ourselves from our rivals and winning the league is testament to the team and clubs improvement.” A Bath victory at home to Oxford on the same day meant they claimed the title by one point and as a result, the 1s will now play the winners of Bristol or Nottingham University in the cup.
Special mentions for this achievement go out to Josh Mardell, Sam Hatherley, Ben Mackey, Nik Rieger and Luca Signorelli for becoming the only University of Bath Men’s hockey players in the history of the club to win two league titles for the Men’s 1s.
The Ladies 3s secured the league title after an emphatic 4-0 victory against UWE 2s. The result meant the women won the league with two games to spare and are currently seven points ahead of Marjons 1s. They have only dropped two points so far all season and will be hoping to finish their league campaign strongly. Captain, Becky Connell commented “winning the league is a fantastic achievement, especially winning it a few matches early. Captaining this team was a dream and topping the league was just what everyone deserved.” After a tough season last year resulting in them being relegated, the 3s have bounced straight back up in an impressive manner. Well done ladies.
In other news, both the Men’s 2s and Men’s 3s are currently in a head to head battle to secure finishing first in their league, above fierce rivals Exeter. In previous years Exeter have dominated the league and Bath have always attempted to knock them off their perch. Now both Bath sides have leapfrogged their rivals, with the Men’s 3s sitting two points ahead of the Men’s 2s. Will Mainwaring, the 3s captain, emphasised just how impressive his team have been this year, “After escaping relegation last season, a quarter final in the cup against Exeter and a battle for the title shows how strong we have become this year”.
The two Bath sides teams play each other in the league in their penultimate match of the season, which is sure to decide who wins the league. They may also meet each other in the cup semi-final if they both win their quarter-final matches. Sam Wilson, the Men’s 2s captain compares this this inter-club rivalry to competitive siblings in sport, “You love them because they’re family but there can be nothing more satisfying than putting one past them on the field”.
The Men’s 4s are also joint top of their league with Winchester as things stand. Both sides are currently sitting on 18 points but the Hampshire outfit have an extra game still to play. This means everything is still to fight for, in what is sure to be an exciting end to the season.
This success has seen the Hockey Club become the second most successful team within the University so far this year, just behind the Badminton Club. The hockey sides currently have 204 BUCS points compared to Badminton’s 240. Things are looking very good for the Hockey Club at this moment in time and hopefully there is more success to come, not just in the league but also the cup competitions as the season reaches its climax. So show your support for the Rangers by going down to the Sitec Arena as all of the teams give one last big push!
Photo credit: Michael Powell