Five years ago dark clouds were on the horizon for the OCHC with a tough decision to disband the 4th XI mid season due to a lack of numbers. Along with many hockey clubs, numbers were dramatically down, mergers were taking place and clubs were folding.
All the more remarkable therefore that in the first week in March 2017 we see the 1st XI 5th in the Southern Premier league, the 3rd XI having already secured promotion the 2nd XI top of their league with three games to go and the other three club sides (excluding the two vets teams) all in the hunt for promotion. The newly formed 4th XI triumphed 17 – 0 on Saturday equalling the all time margin of victory club record. The colts section is thriving having gone from 0 to 350 in four years and the first of the original colts from the first few weeks of the colts section formation are now playing in the men’s league teams.
Just to cap what has to be the best overall season in the club’s history the 0ver-40s have fought their way to the final of the Masters 0-40s shield to be held at Lee Valley (Olympic Park) on the 29th April, our first national tournament final. The 30th April could see the 1st XI in the Surrey Cup final as they seek to retain the trophy.
Following a top win in the quarter finals versus tournament favourites Taunton Vale, we travelled down to Bexleyheath to play BBHC in the semi final. The good thing about this tournament is that the oppo are all a bit of an unknown quantity although on this occasion we were probably assisted by BBHC being a few key players short whilst only Grimer was missing for us with his daughter having her 5th birthday of this hockey season. Remarkably she is now 59 years old.
We started in sun, played through a gale and ended in the sun which just about replicated our performance. Three early goals from Gerry, Wiser and Packers (I think) set us on our way at which point we became a bit cocky, the wind got up and we became indebted to Nigel for two super saves to keep us at 3–0 at half time. Our discipline also disappeared in this spell with three green cards including Cato’s second of his career (Martin please note).
We regrouped at the break and then demolished BBHC in the second half with some polished hockey and two goals from Wiser and one each from Hauck and Knapp sent us on our way to Lee Valley for what promises to be a special last Saturday of the season and following the example set by the rugby club from their national final last year at Twickenham.
Heady days for the OC sports club with the 29th April being one which we wish to share with as many of the OC and OCHC fraternity who can wend their way to Lee Valley to see us play either Stockton or last year’s runners up Norwich who play their semi final on the 12th March.