It was the start of the BUCS season filled with highs and lows, triumphs and devastations, nervousness and excitement. One team that featured were the Hockey 2nd Team, led by team captain Ben Hahn, who played against King’s College London’s (KCL) 3rd team. UKC’s 2nd team were recently pumped with an injection of fresher raw talent, so, quite naturally, feelings were quite tense and adrenaline filled as four of them played their first game of the BUCS season.
These nerves were apparent throughout the game as the lack of chemistry meant that they struggled to retain possession in the first a
nd second half, and could not cope with the well drilled and established gameplay of the KCL 3’s.
Despite Kent’s best efforts to man mark and counterattack against the opposition, they could not cope with the constant rotation of substitutes, the runs and boldness of KCL’s forwards, and the trickery of their midfield, who were swiveling and swerving more than a drunk fish. The game ultimately ended as a 4-0 loss, and it was back to the drawing board for a team talk in preparation for the next game.
Despite the loss, there are plenty of positives that can be drawn for the future of the Kent men’s 2nd hockey team. Currently, they are an unfinished product that is left bare and raw with a lack of chemistry and experience playing together. Despite this, in the games to come they have the potential to challenge for promotion as, once the ingredients of the senior experience and the raw potential of the freshers fuse together, they could become a defensively solid and a lethal attacking threat.
In defense, keeping clean sheets will be vital for the upcoming season if the men’s 2s are to have a chance of promotion. The experience of the senior partnership of Scott Grey and Ben Jones was evident throughout the match and will be highly important in leading defense from the attack and shutting down any attacking outlets from the opposition. In the wideback positions, Freshers Harry Donnelly and Ben Creighton both played beyond their years as they were calm both in defense and possession, and so will be vital in creating width in attack and correspondingly helping out in defense for the games to come. Goalkeeper James Bowsher impressed in his debut as he managed to make crucial saves and will be a highly important player for the 2nd team.
In midfield, creating chances for the attackers, pressing the opposition, and defending as a well-drilled unit will be highly important for the upcoming season. Seniors Harry Mailer (Man of the Match) and Navdeep Gill showed glimpses of pristine creativity and skill and will be vital for providing assists and dictating the tempo of play. New recruit, Shivam, possesses a deadly set of dribbling skills which was evident throughout some periods of the game, when given the freedom to do so, and thus could be an important weapon for the 2nd team. Wide midfielder Simeon Birch had a solid debut as he held the ball up, overpowering the opposition at times, and had some periods of good link-up play with the forwards and midfield, including wide and central midfielder Mark Saggers, whose explosive pace and vision (as seen during the 2’s hockey game on Saturday) was blighted by the fact that he decided to wear boots three sizes too large on his debut, making him run like an ostrich wearing flippers through a field of fudge.
Skipper Ben Hahn will be crucial in attack for the 2nd team and was a lethal threat against KCL due to his tempestuous runs through their defense and aggressive nature that startled their defense at times. Starting on the bench was Fresher Felix who has proven to be a good outlet at the front as he held up the ball and created a string of threatening runs against their lines of defense.