“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
After a few seasons in the doldrums, the Trinity Mids 1st XI team have been building towards something special. With a good squad being built last season it was somewhat of a disappointment not to finish higher in Surrey Division 2. This season however proved to be different. A season that all those who were involved in would never forget. A season of success, enjoyment and, at times, some great hockey.
The successful season however got off to the worst possible start. After months of preseason training, games and fitness sessions the availability for the local derby against Kenley was pretty shocking. With several key players missing the team was turned over 4 – 2 with a lot of questions being asked afterwards. Was it going to all be the same again? Perhaps looking back on it all it was the kick we all needed to get ourselves into gear and so it proved to be. The team wouldn’t drop any points again until the end of February, a five month unbeaten stint.
The next match was against a strong Spencer side who battled well throughout. Eventually the Mids took control and their fitness came through as late goals earned a hard fought 5-3 victory. A comfortable 5-1 victory followed away at Kingstonians which was then followed up by an absolute hammering of Oxted at home. A 9-1 victory could well have been a lot more on the day.
The game away at Woking was by no means a classic. Poor goals conceded and no structure or fluidity to our play saw the team struggle and looked as if points would be dropped. If you’re going to be successful though, you have to pull results out even if you aren’t playing well. This happened a number of times throughout the season. When things looked down and out somebody somewhere came up with the goods. A 3-2 victory was a pleasing result for everyone but it was hardly the way we wanted to carry on for the next few games.
A well-earned week off followed. A trip away to Old Georgians then awaited us, a ground which in previous seasons has been somewhat difficult to gain points at. This season however was different. In the pouring rain some excellent attacking play saw the Mids go in 3-0 up at half time. In true Mids fashion however, we let Georgians back into it. Eventually the final score, a 5-3 victory, seemed to get everyone believing that this could be our season. A young Gamblers side turned up to Warlingham who put up a good fight for 60 minutes. A tight game was decided in the last 10 minutes with the Mids scoring 3 goals to take another three points with a 5-2 victory.
A somewhat bad tempered game took place away at Purley. With tempers fraying and the team once again doing their best to throw the result away, a 4-3 victory was a relief to all of us. Sunbury came down to Warlingham and were shown a lesson in counter attacking and finishing as the Mids ended up comfortable 5-2 winners, a score line that seemed to be a reoccurring theme over the season. The final game before the Christmas break was a top of the table clash against surprise second place Old Reigatians. After a poor first half the Mids turned on the style in the second half playing some great hockey and making their opposition look decidedly average. A 6-2 victory was a dominant performance and a great way to finish off such a strong first half of the season. Top of the league at Christmas, something we all dreamed of and up to this point worked extremely hard to achieve. Spirits were high and promotion was on the cards. Could we keep it going after the Christmas break?
Now would be a good time to mention the cup exploits. After many seasons with no cup entries at all, the decision was taken to have another crack at the National Vase. First up was Crowborough at home, a team ranked two leagues above the Mids and doing well in their league. The game was a tight affair with Crowborough dominating the first half and the Mids coming back in the second. With the scores level at full time the match went straight to strokes. It was the Mids who held their nerve at and knocked out their higher level opposition.
The next round saw a merry band of us travel to Reading to play Sonning, another team ranked two leagues above us. After only a few minutes we somewhat surprisingly were leading 2-1. From here on in we shut up shop and put on arguable our best defensive display in seasons gone by. Even a pitch change at half time couldn’t stop us and we held out for a famous 2-1 victory.
Another home was drawn in the next round against Mid Sussex, again a side ranked two leagues above. A shell-shocked Mids side went in at the break 3-0 down. The second half saw a complete turnaround. Two goals were scored and Mid Sussex were seriously on the ropes as the Mids looked for a third. With chances squandered and Mid Sussex looking dangerous on the break it was the away side who sealed victory with the last play of the game. With Mid Sussex since making it through to the final it is a definite case of what might have been. That second half was completely dominated by the Mids and it’s a shame that we couldn’t find that vital third goal to take the game into flicks. Perhaps the only blip in such a successful season.
In seasons gone by the second half of the season has always been a bit of a let-down with availability being poorer and performances not being quite up to previous standards. The job of winning the league was not yet complete and there was still a lot of work to be done. First up came the task of avenging the first day defeat to Kenley at Warlingham. Another tight affair was decided by a single goal, the Mids coming out 3-2 winners to get the ball rolling.
The away game at Spencer will always be remembered for the opposition red card that changed the game. With Spencer on top before the incident it was the Mids who dominated afterwards. Good approach play finally lead to an equaliser and with time running a botched short corner brought around the winning goal. A 2-1 victory left the team with a big points difference at the top of the table. Only a few more points would seal it.
A routine 3-0 victory against Kingston at home followed this, another 3 points in the bag. After the hammering of Oxted before Christmas, a strangely different looking Oxted side turned up to play as at their place. Nevertheless the Mids put in a strong performance and left with a 2-1 victory, perhaps proof that they can cut it with higher league sides even though they seemed to be playing in their own league. An 8-0 hammering of Woking followed this back at fortress Warlingham. For those wanting to see some of the great play the YouTube video of some of the goals is available online!
A week off was then followed by another different looking Old Georgians side. After going so long without dropping points it was a shame that it came down to a loss against a side who arguably had players from higher sides within it. A 3-2 loss brought a lot of us back down to earth with a bump but the winning run was a great thing and something that we probably will not repeat again for quite a long time.
It could have been easy to then let things slip against second place Gamblers at Crystal Palace, well known for being probably the worst pitch most of us have ever played on. A strong performance shut out Gamblers and with three second half goals deciding the game we left Crystal Palace more or less knowing that we were pretty much there. The league had been sealed depending on results coming in.
Results did indeed go our way and the league was ours. A weakened Purley side turned up to Warlingham and we made real hard work of it to win 2-1 although it was hardly the champagne hockey any of us were used to. Now that the league was won things did go downhill a little in terms of availability and performances. A really disappointing result away at Sunbury left everyone with a bit of a bitter taste in their mouths. For all our hard work and possession the result just did not go our way for once. The season was finished off with a 3-3 draw at home to Reigatians. Again a slightly disappointing result but the hard work had been done earlier in the season so by now it really did not matter.
It has been a fantastic season. The effort put in by everyone involved has been immense and I believe we thoroughly deserved all that we achieved. There is a great team spirit back once again and we can all look forward to new challenges next season in Surrey Division 1. Well done to all!
A big thanks to Duncan for being on the side line every weekend. Your presence, attitude and commitment has kept us all on track and is a big reason for our success. Also a big thank you to Beaker for your training sessions on a Wednesday. Without all those well planned sessions I do not think we would have made the progress we did throughout the season.
Goal of the Season and Champagne Moment of the Season can be debated at the club dinner. I am sure there will be many nominations put into the hat. Get your thinking hats on!
The 1st XI Squad
Duncan ‘It’s still 0-0’ Whitfield (Manager)
Cameron ‘I will eat anything in sight’ Lagerberg (Goalkeeper)
Graham ‘You’re never too old’ Cobbett
Chris ‘Addicted to the floor’ Clark
Richard ‘Angry Man’ Piggin
JP ‘The German’ Seebauer
Ali ‘Slap it hard’ Ross
Ed ‘Reverse Pick’ Broyd (Vice Captain)
Joey ‘Chuck it’ Prestige
Alex ‘Tee me up on the half volley’ Clark
Jack ‘Gammy toe’ Hannon (Captain)
Richard ‘Give us a smile’ Still
Callum ‘Take it out on the fence’ Thorner
Christian ‘I’m too good to pass’ Bond
Anthony ‘I can always be heard’ Brady
James ‘C U Next Tuesday’ Mugridge
Roy ‘The Ginger Wizard’ Wood