Old Georgians looking to build on positive start

Old Georgians looking to build on positive start
Entering the fifth week of the Men’s England Hockey League Premier Division and there are signs that teams are settling and there is more consistency in the playing styles and approaches of individual teams.

As new players find their places within the squads and the principles to which the coaches have been guiding their teams start to become bedrocks of performance, so the pace, intensity and sheer quality of match-play makes for compelling viewing.

All of which makes Beeston’s live stream on England Hockey’s Facebook page last week and Old Georgians’ similar live stream this weekend something to really celebrate and support.

England Hockey caught up with Old Georgians Head Coach Mike Hughes to discover his thoughts on the season so far and what he expects of his team in this weekend’s encounter with Oxted, which can be viewed via the England Hockey Facebook page.

“Our main focus as a group is to look after the details every week, ask the awkward questions and continue to improve.” says Hughes.

“Last week we let ourselves down in the first half. Our game intelligence, defensive desire and ability to remove the ego in deep defence wasn’t at an acceptable level. This is something we’ve analysed at length and will prioritise against Oxted.

“With the ball we played some great attacking hockey and countered well in patches. The quantity, consistency and outcomes of these attacks are trending positively and we must continue to build on this.”

Despite Hughes’ assessment that the team had “let itself down”, the final result – a 5-1 win over Exeter University - has pushed Old Georgians to second in the league, behind unbeaten Surbiton.

This weekend’s opponents will prove a challenge to Hughes and his squad. The Head Coach has a lot of respect for his counterpart at Oxted.

“Two years ago we had some brilliant matches against Oxted and managed to steal a point at their place after coming back from 3-1 down with two minutes to play.

“Nick Giles did brilliantly with this team last year and they were quite rightly crowned champions and promoted. They’ve recruited well, are intelligent with the ball and have a serious corner threat with Tim Guise-Brown. I’ve long admired Sam Driver as a person and multi-sportsman. He has a wealth of experience behind him and will lead their forward line with great zeal.”

If there was ever any doubt that Hughes is anything but a perfectionist they are dispelled the minute he starts talking about his ambitions for the team.

“We’ve played some great hockey this year and with a little more care, we could easily have taken all the points against Holcombe and Hampstead and Westminster. Our aim is to become a multifaceted side that has their super strengths but can adapt and adopt a plan B without any fuss. The boys have worked super hard thus far and continue to challenge themselves and those around them.”

Beeston, for their part, will be hoping to build on the performance that saw them take their first win of the season when they travel across the country to take on Brooklands MU. The Nottinghamshire side hit their stride quickly against Durham and scored all their goals in the first half of the game. Mark Wadsley will be looking for more of the same this weekend. 
There is likely to be a tense and hard-fought match between Hampstead & Westminster and East Grinstead being played at Southgate HC whilst Hampstead's pitch remains unavailable. While Hampstead & Westminster will have all the confidence borne of a 4-1 win over Wimbledon, be sure that East Grinstead will be determined to bounce back after their trouncing at the hands of Surbiton. 

Surbiton are without a fixture this weekend, having been due to compete in the Euro Hockey League prior to the Coronavirus lockdown impacting on the competition.

Durham University v Holcombe and the Division One North game between Bowdon and Olton & WW have been postponed by the teams. University of Exeter v Wimbledon is off due to the University authorities halting community sport. Preston v Lichfield in Men's Conference North is off as the away side cannot travel to a Tier 3 area in line with Government guidance.

For live scores in the Premier Division see https://englandhockey.altiusrt.com/

Restrictions for spectators apply at some games. Please check before travelling.

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday 17 October 2020):

Division One North 
Sheffield Hallam v Loughborough Students 18:30

Division One South
Sevenoaks v Oxford Hawks 17:00
Southgate v Old Cranleighans 14:30

Conference East
Bromley & Beckenham v Wapping 15:30
London Wayfarers v St Albans 14:30
Old Loughtonians v West Herts 16:30
Richmond v Spencer 18:00
Men’s Hockey League (Sunday 18 October 2020):

Premier Division
Beeston v Brooklands MU 14:00
Hampstead & Westminster v East Grinstead 14:30 at Southgate HC
Old Georgians v Oxted 13:00
Univ of Durham v Holcombe postponed
Univ of Exeter v Wimbledon postponed

Division One North
Bowdon v Olton & West Warwicks 13:30
Cambridge City v Univ of Birmingham 13:30
Deeside Ramblers v City of Peterborough v 13:30
Univ of Nottingham v Cardiff & Met 14:30

Division One South
Brighton & Hove v Havant 13:00
Reading v Canterbury 13:30
Teddington v Team Bath Buccaneers 14:15

Conference East
London Edwardians v Harleston Magpies 12:30

Conference North
Belper v Doncaster 12:30
Barford Tigers v Timperley 13:00
Didsbury Northern v Univ of Birmingham 2s14:30
Preston v Lichfield postponed
Leeds v Univ of Durham 2s 14:30

Conference West
Ashmoor v Univ of Bristol v 14:00
Cardiff Univ v Cheltenham 13:30
Chichester v Plymouth Marjon 14:00
Harborne v Fareham 14:30
Khalsa Leamington v Isca 13:30