Off the back of a strong 3rd place finish and a BUCS quarter final, the first XI were aiming to repeat their success of the previous season.
A strong pre-season with wins over rivals Reading and Oxford, with a high squad retention and welcoming two talented freshers, the season looked like a promising one.
The hard work and effort put in over September by the squad in pre-season paid off, with wins over Reading and Bristol on the road. Coupled with a resounding 5-2 win against Cardiff Met to the delight of the home crowd. Sadly, despite going close, we were unable to beat both Bath and Exeter at home. However, this left Brookes in a strong position going in to Christmas, with 9 points in the bag.
The aim going in to January was to solidify third and hopefully begin to challenge Bath and Exeter at the top. However, a sub-par build up led to a narrow away loss to Met and a home draw against Bristol. A battling 6-3 loss at Exeter, meant that Brookes had it all to do against Reading to secure third. Thankfully a fantastic performance meant we secured a home tie against Sheffield Hallam in the cup, who finished sixth in North A.
Although we continued to train hard, performances were not quite there. The final league match against Bath ended in heavy defeat, a cup upset to Hallam and a Varsity to Reading defeat were certainly not the season end we were hoping for.
However, the first half of the season shows the kind of performances the team could produce, and that run of games was a fantastic send off for the large number of players who were leaving us. All of whom left a mark on the club, with 3 years of premier league hockey and some fantastic wins along the way, their contribution has been massive.
We move in to the next season retaining a strong core of players, and the potential of some 2s players making the step up. With a strong influx of freshers and a good pre-season, we are aiming to continue to push the top teams, and look to continue our stay in the highest level of men’s university hockey.