Ashford HC once again hosted its annual lower men’s summer league, this year welcoming teams from four other local hockey clubs. The format followed a league system with teams playing each other twice. This was followed by a third/fourth place play off and the top two teams competing in winner-takes-all final.
The participant teams showed a high standard of sportsmanship and nearly all the games were competitive affairs with many high-scoring matches.
Ashford’s captain Shane Smith had the luxury of strong availability throughout with more than thirty players turning out across Ashford’s nine games. Several new recruits made their Ashford bow and a number of juniors enjoyed exposure to adult hockey, performing admirably in what proved to be a strong league. All in all, the summer league showcased an unprecedented level of off-season commitment revealing a genuine enthusiasm for hockey at the club at the moment which bodes well for the coming season.
Final league position
1 Sunbury & Walton Hawks
4 BA Ramgarhia Slough
5 Chertsey Thames Valley
Ashford’s final game saw them compete in the third/fourth place play off against Chertsey (BA Ramgarhia Slough having pulled out). In a spirited match Ashford emerged victorious with a 4-3 win to clinch third.
The final was contested by Sunbury & Walton Hawks and Staines. Hawks had deservedly finished top of the league by three points having played the most consistent hockey across the summer, but they were unable to prevent a very strong Staines team from winning 3-1 on the night. As the ‘old enemy’ walked away with the trophy, Ashford can nevertheless take courage from their performances and from the strength of comradery evident across the summer; another successful summer league experience.
Grateful thanks to Peter Cottrell for organising the league as well as to the umpires who gave up their evenings to officiate. Mark Smith, Neil Smith, Robert Evans, Ian McAllan, Andrew Barnes and Peter Cottrell all shared the responsibility between them.
Shane Smith 11.8.2019