Thursday, December 1, 2022

Hockey: End Of Season Report

By Paul Sargeant

Mens I

Thurrock’s 1st team have had an excellent 2009/2010 season missing out on promotion by just one point, but to finish third is a very respectable result.
This year has seen some great new young players come through the ranks and shine, the likes of Nick Stapleton and Stephen Edwards both had a great year and our player of the season Jorden Salmon, his first full year as a First team player. The whole team has worked so hard with our veteran centre midfielder and coach, Andre Rudder the driving force behind the team. Its also good to see the club and the team grow as people are now fighting for positions and driving each other on. The competition for the forward positions has be so great all three strikers have reached double figures Jacob Agoro 21 goals, Steve Abbott 23 goals and Thurrock’s top scorer on 33 goals Matthew Gaut. Matthew has had a great year and pushed Jorden all the way for player of the season.

The rest of the team have all contributed from Andy Gaut and Keith Mager in goal, supported with Luke Danbrook, Tommy Ing and Andrew Sargeant (club captain), Matthew Leaver, Mike Murray and last but not least our Australian import Jonathon Boyd.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported the first team this season, you have all helped us get where we are. Thank you. And we are all looking forward to next season!

Mens II

After struggling to get a fit side out for most of the first half of the NE14 Hockey Division 6 season, the 2s hoped that the new year would bring stability, so skipper Keith Mager was less than impressed to learn that over Christmas defensive midfielder Gary Venus had dislocated his knee, and forward Dave Shatwell had damaged his shoulder, injuries that would see them both miss the rest of the season. As luck would have it though, Melbourne midfielder Jonathon Boyd was starting to make a big impact at Palmer’s, indeed he would go on to play the final five games of the season for the 1st team, and the trio of Ashley Snell, Michael Hewing and Kevin Appleyard were all available once more for selection. Player of the Year for the IIs was Gary Ginsburgh.

February saw the return of a stalwart of Thurrock Hockey Club, Neil Donovan, who had been out for over a year after injury and a complicated operation. It also saw the 2s beat local rivals Brentwood away from home, at a time when Thurrock were looking over their shoulders at a possible relegation scrap, and Brentwood were looking likely promotion candidates. This proved to be a turning point for the Tees, who, after going down the following week to soon to be promoted East London, went on a four game winning streak, scoring 21 goals in the process, eight of which by Michael Murray, and five from the stick of Declan Millane.

Thurrock’s defeat of University of Essex in the penultimate match of the season moved them up to sixth place in the league, their highest position of the season, and even a loss in the final game away to Romford couldn’t knock them back into the bottom half. With all the problems the 2s have had this season, sixth place, with ten victories from 22 games, was a good result, and a good place to start next season’s campaign from.

Next season’s aim must at least be promotion, and this will depend on our promising young players, like Tom Madden, Gary Ginsburgh, Declan Millane and Liam Appleyard delivering the goods that they are capable of, and the older players, the likes of Ashley Snell, Michael Murray, Chris Smith and Neil Donovan keeping fit, and playing for the whole season. If it goes to plan, Thurrock 2nd XI will be celebrating promotion this time next year.

Mens III

At the start of the season it looked very unlikely that Thurrock would have a men’s third team as due to lack of players and the first two games had to be conceded as there was only 26 players available for three teams. It was decided to attempt to field a team using some of the older players from the “minis” and so the third game contained five players under 14, three under 15 plus two over 40-year-olds with little expectation of winning or probably maintaining the team for the whole season. However a win was achieved followed by two more and by Christmas Thurrock 3rds were in sixth position in Division 9SE. In the second half of the season form has been maintained and, with the addition of a couple of players returning from injury, finished the season in fourth place. Players of note have been goalkeeper Declan Salmon, who has made some amazing saves, Sam Webb, who has proved a very strong defender, brothers Lawrence and Oliver Smith, who, together with Player of The Season Matthew Skinner, have worked tirelessly in midfield to provide ammunition for team top-scorer Michael Fleming. If the squad can remain together and improve even more during the season of summer friendly games things look very promising for 2010-11.

Ladies II

The Ladies IIs team has had an excellent season, finishing middle of the Essex Premier Division, a league we were promoted to this year. It has proved to be a tough league but we have battled well and had some very good results.

We got off to a slow start taking time to establish a regular team, and suffered several defeats early on. Our first victory came in our fifth game with a 1-0 away win against a strong Old Loughtonians side. This seemed to be the turning point of the season, after which we went from strength to strength, winning our final game with only nine players, 3-1 against opponents Redbridge.

The big plus for the team has been the blend of youthful exuberance with the experience of the older players. Captain Nikki Woodruff has been key to this and the youngsters have improved considerably. A special mention goes to the goalkeeper Ali Hadley who gave 100% every game.

Player of the season was 15 year old Emma Johnston who achieved County Honours in her age group and highest goal scorer was Katie Johnston.

Minis

Thurrock HC once again combined with Southend HC to enter into the Alliance Sports Mini Hockey league. Due to an increase in the number of teams in the league and the inclement weather, we did not play our first games until the end of January.

Once the games started the U9 soon got the hang of playing together and by the end of the season they were looking like a good team. The U11 boys also soon found their rhythm and played some very good hockey. The U11 girls had a difficult season with a number of the U9 girls stepping up to fill in, they had some good results towards then end of the season as they grew in confidence.

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