UEL men’s hockey team are pumped

After suffering a devastating relegation last year, the boys in blue have put that all behind them and are thrilled to see what the new first year players bring to the pitch. Teri Dormer reports.

New season, new league, new captain.

As UEL join a new BUCS league – Tier 5, North East London – optimism and confidence is in the air as the older squad introduce John Wick and Roberto A. Lopato Ri into the team following last week’s trials. Talks of other new recruits are ongoing, but finding the time for training is the only problem so far.

East London 1sts kick off the 2017/18 season with a home game against top team City 1st. The macth starts at 2pm on Wednesday the 11th October at Lee Valley hockey and Tennis centre, Queen Elizabeth park.

The team have said goodbye to previous captain Phillip Wilson and have warmly welcomed UEL’s new skipper, Isaac Charles. Charles told Rising East about his excitement and the pressures he faces as new captain, and his plans for the team this year.

“Last year we suffered a lot of defeats, our aim for this season is to get promotion back into the league we were in last season”. As captain, Charles wants a team that enjoys playing hockey and to ‘give everyone a memory of having played in a fun sociable team’.

Warming up

UEL took part in the London University Cup on Monday 8th October to begin practising for the big season ahead. Although four good games took place, unfortunately the results didn’t turn out as hoped. Goal scorer Robert Wheeler said: “We played four games and lost by narrow margins, the team played really well and were much more improved”.

Charles added: “The tournament for us was a benchmark to see our progress and how we can perform against teams that play in a couple of divisions above us. It was also there to serve as a platform in which to test our fitness”.

Charles was incredibly proud of the team’s performance, and how they integrated with the new players. “We changed our formation and game plan which consists of possession based play” continued Charles.

Looking ahead to Wednesdays match, the first game of the season is a very crucial game for UEL. “To start of the season with a win will be a massive boost to the team morale and set us up for the coming season,” said  Charles.

Confidence is key

All of the squad, both old and new, are excited for the upcoming matches and the journey of exploring a new league. Confidence and commitment is needed throughout the season in order for UEL for finish in their desired first place position.