University of East London are currently sat bottom of the South Eastern 4B league with zero wins, one draw and six losses. They are in serious danger of being relegated this season unless they can draw their last game against King’s College London Men’s 3rd.
With the team lacking a specific manager, a variety of UEL coaches are tasked with training, but could this be the reason they have struggled this season?
Being bottom of a league in any sport is difficult to accept for any team, but can also have a devasting impact on the captain as they stgruggle to maintain motivation and drive the sqaud forward.
As the guy with the armband, Phillip Wilson is proud of the effort and dedication of his team:
“The boys are extremely committed and work hard throughout training and games. It is a very fresh, naive team so as long as the boys put 100% effort in every week and play the best that they can then that is all we can ask.”
Wilson is more interested in the growth and development of his team in order to build upon future matches and seasons than the weekly scores.
Vice-Captain Sam McGrath isn’t surprised by the league position that he believes is due to many of the players graduating, but recognises the need to focus on retaining and increasing numbers at the club:
“This season we went from having four people at the start of the year to 14 so I see that as a success.”
Wilson continued, “The team are just in an adjustment period and we are aiming high for our last few games and varsity.”
Bottom place has not always been the home for the hockey team. In the 14/15 season the men’s first team were super successful and the women’s first team came first and won the league.
UEL can’t pin point the reasons for such huge defeats even when they have had made many changes to the formation of the team and new players added during transition period in January.
When asked what changes and adjustments both captains would make for next season Wilson said he would include more training sessions:
“The boys are really starting to gel and play some lovely hockey on the pitch. With more contact hours a week the team could have achieved this point much sooner on in the season.
“The commitment has been fantastic all season and I can’t ask for more than that.”
A Brighter Future
McGrath believes that although they’re not winning, there is a strong team spirit with each player fully engaged in the process.
The east London team train and hold their home games at Lee Valley Tennis & Hockey Centre, at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Straford.
When matches take place captain, Phillip Wilson and Vice-captain, Sam McGrath are in charge of making sure everything is running smoothly and together manage the team.
A total of seven games have been played in the South Eastern 4B team with three remaining for this season.
UEL, for the first time, participated in the BUCS Hockey South Eastern Conference Plate first round but unfortunately suffered a 6-0 defeat by University of Chichester back in November.
This knocked back any chances to go further in the cup but gave them more time to focus on the league.
Overall captain Phillip Wilson is proud and pleased with his team despite the unfortunate results this season.
The team is comprised mainly of first and second year students so a solid foundation to build upon is in place for future seasons. Wilson is looking positively towards next season:
“It is all looking very promising so next season, with the addition of a few new fresher’s, I can see us challenging more towards the top of the table and having a more successful cup run.”