The sport of hockey has changed so much in the past 20 years from the removal off the offside rule, to the idea of grass pitches a distant memory. Gone are the days where you'd roll a side-line ball in with your hand and as such the sport has also become more professional outfit. Skills have always been present in the game, just as the game evolves so does the type of skill needed to play. One of the biggest changes we've seen in the last 20 years is the fitness levels of the players playing the sport we love. The introduction of AstroTurf has increased the speed of the game and as such the fitness levels need to increase to match.
As the start of the season kicks off every Prem A side dreams of their promotion to the English NL. All those hours of gruelling pre-season fitness and training is finally being put to the test as that first league game whistle is blown.
After Wapping's success last year we look at the opening days results in the EML in a search for the next National League side from the East. The first day produced some exciting results as recently relegated Harleston Magpies were on the wrong side of a 4-1 result against promotion hopefuls St Albans. Old Loughts had a very promising start with a dominating performance against a traveling Chemlsford side beating them convincingly 8-0! City of Peterborough saw off new Prem A side Saffron Walden in a close encounter winning 5-3 and Bedford managed to take home 3 points from Dereham, their boggy side of recent years winning 2-1.
|St Albans 1|
|Harleston Magpies 1|
|Saffron Walden 1|
|City of Peterborough 1|
|Old Loughts 1|
|Cambridge Uni 1|
|Cambridge City 2|
So we're only one match into the new season and how much can you really predict from a single game, I hear you ask? To be honest ... some would say not a lot, but what I would say is there will be a few teams this year pushing for promotion and the strong starts by St Albans and Old Loughts can not be ignored.
Congratulations to all the players who won yesterday & Good luck to everyone for the rest of the season!