The Oxford Brookes Men’s 2nd XI had an extremely strong season, with very few losses across both our league and our fixtures. The existing strength and proficiency of the squad combined with the arrival of some skilful freshers led to the team going from success to success in the 2016/2017 season.
In our league campaign, we came out very strong, showing our league competitors we were a force to reckoned with. Battling for the top spot against a well drilled Loughborough side, we were unfortunate to drop a few points away from home, with conditions not always in our favour. Despite this, we fought hard right up till the end of the season, and secured ourselves a top 2 finish. Similarly, in our cup run, we stormed our way to the semi-finals, where we faced up against a hardened Coventry side, who narrowly took the game on flicks. The aim for next year is to become cup finalists, and hopefully to be the ones lifting it!
Personal highlights of the season included a convincing home win against Birmingham, who the week before held us to a draw in a frustrating game, with a 5-3 victory over the opposition. This was arguably the best the team had played all season, with the movement and chemistry being unmatchable, leading to a very convincing win. Another highlight of the season was the varsity match versus Reading. Varsity is extremely enjoyable with lots of games going on across the day. In our game, we put out another resounding win with chances aplenty and a convincing clean sheet ending the match at 2-0.
Overall, we had a very strong season, finishing with only one loss in the league campaign, and putting 7 points between us and 3rd placed Birmingham. Our record for the year – including the Cup – was 7 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses. As a team, we were very difficult to break down at the back, and moved the ball very well most the time, often leaving our opponents out of breath.
Not only did we have a convincing season on paper, the season also provided the conditions for many of the freshers in our team to develop, with many of them potentially moving up to the Men’s 1st XI for the upcoming season.
The season ahead will be a new challenge, and will require hard work and determination to continue the success of last year. As captain, I am honoured to be able to lead this and can hope to be a good example to not only senior members of the team, but also to the freshers that arrive in September. My goal is to create an environment whereby the team has a strong and cohesive bond, as well as a level of competitiveness where players can thrive and perform to the best of their abilities. I am looking forward very much to the season ahead, as well as hopefully seeing some new faces progress through the ranks of the club to achieve their maximum potential.
Good luck to the whole of Brookes Hockey, and lets have another unreal season as a club.