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28th October 2015

SPORTLIGHT: University of Manchester’s Hockey

With lots of sport available on the university campus, Spotlight aims to show you the different varieties of sport available and the different levels at which you can play. This week, we take a look at Hockey.
SPORTLIGHT: University of Manchester’s Hockey

With lots of sport available on the university campus, Spotlight aims to show you the different varieties of sport available and the different levels at which you can play. This week, we take a look at Hockey.

Oak House mixed hockey team’s joint-captain and a 2nd year Chemical Engineer, Fabio Primavera has been talking to the Mancunion Sport about the season ahead.

With one of the most thriving halls teams in the whole university, Oak House play in the first division of Campus Mixed Hockey League – this is different to what you would expect. Sport is often criticised for how it separates the genders and doesn’t give equal footing to all genders, but the mixed leagues that the university offers are open to anyone.

The team itself also contains players of very different abilities, as well as gender, as there are players who have played for the university team before – but those who have also no experience in hockey before, which really highlights how diverse campus sports are.

Despite these mixed abilities, there is still an element of rivalry present in the campus sports game! Primavera reminisces on last season’s big wins over Sheavyn and Ashburne that are still fresh in the mind. He demonstrates that this may be a casual level, but everyone still puts their all into the game; this is evident when he reminisces on a goal he scored last season. “The keeper had no chance!” he reflects on his reverse kick shot thunder-bolting into the top corner of the net.

This season has seen the Oak House team improve immensely, after a difficult season last year meant that the team narrowly avoided relegation, finishing second to bottom of the division. “We had our good days and many more bad days, but we weren’t the worst at least!” describes a cheerful joint-captain.

As expected, he is optimistic about this year. The team has put last season’s disappointment behind them, and a strong recruitment drive has resulted in more quality being added.

Initial performances this season have exceeded expectations. Despite advertising that no skill was required to join, the new crop has demonstrated a natural talent. Despite having only played a handful of games thus far, the cohesion and understanding in the team has improved. A 5-0 win against medics 2 and 3-3 against University Development illustrates the progress the team has made. These 2 teams, as well as University of Manchester Geography, will be their main rivals this season.

Fabio remarks that the atmosphere in the Oak House team is very friendly and relaxed while maintaining a competitive edge; the emphasis being that playing hockey should be an escape from academic stress. Training sessions are light, yet, there is still a fervent desire to win matches. Matches are played on Sunday afternoons at the Armitage sports centre and are traditionally followed by a team social at squirrels. Yearly highlights include the end of season fancy dress tournament and joint events with Oak House rugby.

Despite the season already being in full flow, the team remains open to anyone interested. Fabio was keen to mention that anyone wishing to join will be welcome, regardless of ability and what stage of your degree you are at. Anyone wishing to join should get in touch via Facebook, through the ‘Oak House Mixed Hockey 2015/2016’ group.

However, if a more competitive and professional level is what you are after from your university sport, and then the British University and College Sport Leagues (BUCS) may be for you.

BUCS player Lucy Roberts, a 2nd year Biomed student, has been talking to the Mancunion Sport about playing for the University Women’s Hockey second team in the BUCS.

The level of commitment required for the step above is significantly higher, as it consists of two training sessions a week, alongside weekly fixtures – therefore a much higher standard of hockey is played, and the players improve by playing with one another.  With this increased technicality and skill at the higher level, it offers Lucy an escape from studying, just as a campus league would – but with that little bit more quality.

Last season the team did not challenge for the league but were happy with the season and ready to kick start this year! Particularly tough opposition find themselves against the university this year – in Liverpool John Moore’s and Sheffield Hallam, but positivity is within the ranks as a new crop of first years have brought an even higher level of quality to the team.

The team has played 2 BUCS matches so far, a comfortable home win against Keele (3-1) and an away loss to Bangor (2-0). Lucy commented that the arduous travelling to play away from home is often a detrimental to the team’s chances.

The team will play 10 league matches this year, playing every team home and away, which is obviously a lot more strenuous and time consuming than a campus league – but the team find themselves battling in much more challenging games.

In addition to this, the team are entered into a knock-out cup competition. The team came close to glory last year, reaching the semi-finals of the cup, and hope for another great cup run this year, kick started on the 28th of October, away at northern rivals Leeds. The thrill of a one game shoot-out against other teams gives the team added motivation.

Further to this, the team are involved in the Christie cup, a battle of the redbrick universities across the North-West. It is a yearly round-robin tournament involving the University of Manchester, the University of Leeds and the University of Liverpool. A particular emphasis will be placed on this year’s competition as we are the host team, and can have the whole university behind us to clinch the cup this time round. Lucy predicts that this will be one of the highlights of the season.

It is sure to be a thrilling season for the women’s second team. Anyone wishing to follow the progress of the team can find results and upcoming fixtures on the BUCS website (www.bucs.org.uk), or keep reading the Mancunion SPORT. Home games are played at the Armitage centre on Wednesday afternoons for anyone wanting to see the ladies in action. We wish the team good luck for the season.


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