Said and done: The Road to Lee Valley

Brooklands 2nd XI

Everyone loves the night before a big match. After dinner you get to packing away your kit ready of the morning, a few last nervous thoughts before drifting off to sleep dreaming of a big win the next day. Those nerves will be heightened for the 50 teams taking part in this weekend as the Men’s and Investec Women’s Knockout Finals get underway first thing Saturday at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The chance to play at England’s home of hockey is not one that comes around every day for some, so ahead of their big day at the venue where hockey history happens, we gathered the thoughts of some of those hoping for glory this weekend.

“It’s been tough getting to Lee Valley, with the toughest test yet to come. There is a positive and focussed atmosphere within the squad after successfully defending our North Premier title and all eyes are on Southgate in the final. #championsdomore #roadtoleevalley."
Darius Virabi, Brooklands MU.

"Playing at the Olympic Park is every hockey player’s dream, to do it alongside your 15 favourite teammates is a once in a lifetime experience. The team are more than ready to dig deep and bring home a victory and do HHC proud!”
Lucy Wood, Harrogate HC.

“Our journey to Lee Valley has been an exciting one; our hard work, dedication to the game and great team spirit has been rewarded with a unique and exciting opportunity! The idea of playing on the same pitch as our Olympic hockey team has been a driving force since the very first game! I am immensely proud to captain such a talented and driven team and we are all incredibly excited for the final challenge ahead!”
Claire Newton, Alderley Edge.

Alderley Edge 1st ladies

"What a phenomenal achievement for Ludlow Hockey Club and Shropshire Hockey. We are a small club with a big heart and do posses some wonderfully talented players."
Vijay Chumber, Ludlow.

“Our fifth straight final is an incredible achievement and is a testament to the strength of our squad. The players are thrilled about playing another final at the Lee Valley stadium in the Olympic Park, we hope we can do ourselves justice on the day and claim the trophy.”
Andy Whalley Guernsey HC.

'The girls have been working so hard this season and have seen some amazing results, so to win the final of the cup would be the cherry on top of an incredible season. We all want it so much and definitely won't give up without a fight!' Katie Mason and Claire Wallace University of Birmingham.

"It is exciting for us that Reading Hockey Club have another team at Lee Valley on a finals weekend and that we get to represent them. I cannot think of a better stage to showcase what our club and our ladies can do."
Alys Richards, Reading.

"Norwich Dragons Masters O40's team are absolutely delighted to be returning to the Olympic Park again this year and look forward to playing a great final, trying to go one better in lifting the Shield for the first time." 
Jon Price, Norwich Dragons.

Norwich Dragons

"Jersey are really delighted to have reached the Masters O35's final for the second time in succession. This year we've had a much tougher route to the final and hope that we can go one better than last year!"
Becky Henwood-Darts, Jersey HC.

“We are delighted to have reached the finals again, and excited about playing at Lee Valley: it should be a great weekend of hockey. After disappointment at the final stage last year, we are hoping to go one better this year and come away with the cup!”
Diane Bellin, Bowdon Hightown.

"We have had some great games and a lot of fun in getting to the final. The whole team is excited about now playing at Lee Valley."
Jaynie Scott-Kilvert, Canterbury.

“Travelling, meeting and playing other teams has been such an enjoyable experience and has allowed us to renew our love for hockey. The support we have received along the way has been brilliant and we are really looking forward to the final at Lee Valley.” 
Shez Coe, Kettering HC.

“After the disappointment of losing in the final last year, the team are very excited that they have reached the final again, and have the opportunity of going one better. We are looking forward to playing at the Olympic Park, which we know will be a tough encounter against Kettering.”
Lianne Shadrack, Cambridge City.

“I am immensely proud of my team mates for their hard work and dedication this season. It's been a real pleasure to lead the team to both league promotion and the opportunity to play in a National Final at Lee Valley. The road to Lee valley has really inspired our players both young and old and we have had great support throughout. #uptheform” 
Alex Vine, Formby HC.

And to finish, perhaps our favourite from Taunton Vale’s U18 captain, Jordan Symes: 'Dare to Dream.' All 50 teams will be allowing themselves to do just that.

50 teams. 25 finals. One chance at glory. The Road to Lee Valley is almost at an end. Don't forget you can still buy tickets to see the finals. Just click here.