OLD SOUTHENDIAN Men’s Hockey first team have won promotion for the second successive campaign, confirming that the Warners Bridge-based club will play at the highest level they have faced in their 100-year history.
The Old Boys defeated promotion rivals, Broxbourne, in a thrilling encounter. The Seasiders had to come from behind. Two goals from top scorer Giles Davies – taking him to 23 for the season – a trademark drag flick from Liam Peoples and a close-range effort from Ben Cotton building an unassailable 4-1 lead at the break.
To their credit, Broxbourne hit back to set up a terrific finale after substituting their goalkeeper to play with eleven outfield players. The task became somewhat harder for the Old Boys when they lost player-coach, Jonty Clarke, to a yellow card.
But despite Broxbourne recovering two goals, Old Southendian held firm to win 4-3 sparking huge celebrations. Captain, Alfie Hibbard enthused: “It may have taken some last-ditch tackles and goal-line clearances to preserve the lead, but in doing so, I am proud to have led this first XI squad of 2019/20 into the Old Southendian Hockey Club history books forevermore. An incredible season”
The Old Southendian second string secured their place in Division 3SE next season with a last gasp 4-4 draw with cross-town rivals Southend. Stuart MacDonald scored twice, while Josh Copeland and James Beardwell were also on target in a hugely entertaining contest.
Captain, Jack Stevenson, said: “It’s been a tough season following promotion, but we’ve survived and will ensure we come back stronger next season. I’m very proud of the team.”
The third team edged out East London by a single goal at Warners Bridge. Skipper, Noel Smith, grabbed the all-important goal, although the Old Boys passed up several opportunities to extend their advantage.
It was a successful afternoon for the Old Boys fourth team, who saw off Romford by three unanswered goals. Darren Fessey bagged a brace, while Simon Jackson added another to secure a midtable finish to the campaign.
Heartbreak for the Old Boys fifth team who needed to secure victory against Maldon to secure promotion.
Unfortunately, the resulting goalless draw meant Old Southendian missed out on goal difference. Captain, Paul Ashworth, said: “Every player gave everything, the match had everything but goals. The spirit of the game was excellent, and it was a treat for our usual band of supporters.”
However, there was better news for the Old Boys sixth XI who clinched the title with a resounding 4-0 win on the road at Braintree.
The team were only beaten on three occasions during what has proved to be their best-ever campaign.
The return of striker Steve Holmes to the club after several years living and playing hockey in New Zealand pepped up the front line, while a defence marshalled by Player of the Year, Michael Raffan, conceded only five times as the top spot was confirmed.
Rich Cooper opened the scoring before captain, Paul Stoner, doubled the advantage from a penalty corner. Steve Holmes made it three and Stoner put the icing on the cake. After the game, the skipper said: “I’ve been playing for many years in the sixth XI, but this season has been truly remarkable. A great game to finish a successful season.”
Old Southendian Hockey Club welcomes new members looking to return to hockey or take up the game for the first time. We run six men’s and three ladies teams as well as youth and an active mini hockey section. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email: [email protected]