EH Hockey returns to The Gate this weekend

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The club holds the record for the number of times they have regained a place in the England hockey league – this makes it 4 by my reckoning. Most clubs who drop out of the league  drift around their regional leagues and lack the vision to make the move back again, but City of Peterborough has never changed its position from wanting to play in the EH league at every possible opportunity.

After being relegated at the end of the 2008/09 season, 2009/10 was a tough year as players retired or moved away, but last season, Gareth Andrew returned to the club as player coach and formed a 2-year plan to return the team to the EH league . It says much for the determination of the team that they threw this plan out of the window and achieved it at the first time of asking.  Once again they find themselves in the East conference,  despite being geographically much better placed to play in the North (and bizarrely being a good deal further north than some of the teams who are in that league). The East conference is by some way the toughest of the 3 regional conferences, encompassing all the clubs in and around London, but the club thrives on a challenge!

First up on Sunday 18th Sept is Canterbury – our advantage is that they are used to playing their home games on a water-based surface and may take a little while to adapt to our unique sand-based pitch. Kiwi Nathaniel Joy heads the list of new players brought in by Canterbury following their relegation at the end of last season, and David Mathews returns along with a number of Holcombe players in the usual close-season equivalent of football’s transfer windown merry-go-round.

Meanwhile CoP have sadly lost the services of Mark Burchett, who has moved to Olton & West Warwick due to work commitments and goes with our best wishes and thanks for a great season last year. However, inbound are some familiar faces as Joe Finding and Neil Evans return as their studies have now ended, and the new face on the team is Ross Booth, also fresh from finishing uni at Loughborough. Making the step up from last year’s 2nd XI as the youngest member of the squad is talented all-rounder Marcus Howard. Marcus turned down the option of JRPC training over the summer, preferring to concentrate on cricket at both club and county level, and training with the 1st XI hockey squad. Watching the club’s talented juniors developing into top flight players is a source a great pride for all those invvolved in the junior section of the club and there is a great pipeline of potential talent to work with over the coming seasons.

Whatever the result on Sunday, it is great to have EHL hockey back at the Gate and a big crowd will undoubtedly lift the team. At just £1 for adults, 50p for U18s and U11s free it is great value – the bar will be open and a great atmosphere is guaranteed. The opportunity for juniors to watch and learn is also one only available to 40 clubs in England so grab it with both hands!

Pushback is 1.00pm so put the roast in the oven for later and come on down to support the boys.