Beeston Targeting More Success Following Cup Glory

Beeston targeting more success following cup glory
As hockey clubs across the country enter another weekend of no activity, we chat to a trio from one of the country’s many proactive and forward-thinking clubs to find out how their season is holding up to the impact and disruption caused by Covid-19.

Beeston Hockey Club, which is based at Nottingham Hockey Centre, has forged ahead with its development plans in recent years, including a collaboration with Nottingham High School to make it one of the largest clubs outside the Netherlands. In 2018 the club launched Bee TV, which airs its men’s and women’s Premier Division home matches. It has even released its own Beeston Gin.

However, even a go-getting club such as Beeston has had to put some plans on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic. We speak to men’s head coach Mark Wadsley; first team stalwart Gareth Griffiths, who has grown up at the club and is part of the Great Britain Elite Development Programme (EDP) squad; and Graham Griffiths, the first team manager and club chairman.

Beeston 2020 EH Champs Final

For Wadsley, the season so far has been positive when it comes to performance. A cup win at the beginning of the season and only one loss in the league is a good return for the squad. However, Wadsley is disappointed that the team has only secured eight points so far, with two draws showing that the team has some work to do when it comes to finishing the game strongly.

“We felt, with the style of hockey we have played, we could potentially have gained a few more points and so are a little disappointed to be on eight points,” says the head coach. ‘However, we need to mature as a team and be more consistent so that we play for 70 mins.”

The style of hockey he refers to is free-flowing and attacking. It is one that Wadsley and assistant coach Stephen Wood feels suits the players who turn out for Beeston. The key now is to counter the fast attacks with some solid defensive play.

The use of virtual team meetings and WhatsApp groups for smaller groups of players is something that has emerged from the Covid situation. These enhancements to the groups’ communications is something that Wadsley feels will continue to be used in the future.

As a player Gareth Griffiths has had to adapt to the differences presented by Covid. The 21-year-old midfielder explains that both training and matches have been impacted by players being absent because of self-isolation. However, he stresses that preparations have been as thorough as ever, with a lot of time spent studying the opposition and discussing the way the team will approach each match.

He says, despite any Covid-related upheaval, the atmosphere among the team remains as upbeat and positive as ever.

“We’ve got a good group which is pretty resilient and has been together for a few years so we know what to expect from each other,” he says. “Home games are always pretty special because of what goes on behind the scenes at Beeston with the facility and Bee TV. It’s really exciting at Beeston on match days and I hope other clubs can follow suit with the Beeston match day experience.”

Beeston 2020

The season has already presented its high and low points for the squad. Griffiths says: “Winning the Tier One Cup Final was a great way to start the season. Silverware is a massive boost and is important for the club.

“The low point came in our last game before the lockdown. it was a 3-3 draw away at East Grinstead. We felt we’d done enough to come away with the points but were pretty naive in seeing the game out. You often learn more when you don’t win and I think we’ve learnt our lessons from this game and this can only help us moving forward.”

As clubs around the country come to terms with closed facilities, club chairman Graham Griffiths sums up what a month of lockdown means for the Nottingham outfit.

“The latest lockdown will present us with huge challenges. Most clubs are about to lose bar and catering income. Sponsorship will start to dry up and there will be numerous problems with the availability of pitches. The challenge will be in keeping players, staff and members motivated and ready to kick on when the sun shines again.”