Saturday, May 25, 2024

14 months after first ever win, Oaklands Wolves Hockey Academy lift inaugural national title

Oaklands Wolves Hockey Academy won the mixed national colleges title hosted by AoC Sport at Nottingham Hockey Centre – just 14 months after their first ever competitive victory.

Finals day took place over the weekend last month with a round robin tournament style format.

In match one, Oaklands started well and came away with a comfortable 3-0 win against Greenhead College, followed by a 1-0 win versus Cardinal Newman. Staggeringly, game three ended in an 18-0 win for the boys and girls in black against a Loughborough College side who had suffered key injuries in earlier games.

On the Sunday, Oaklands confirmed another three points with a 4-0 win over Hereford College.

The fifth game was against Peter Symonds (PSC), which – with both sides unbeaten – was the final. The two sides had history with each other with Symonds beating Oaklands 2-0 in the Cup semi-final a few weeks prior.

Revenge was on the cards for Oaklands, however, within a minute PSC had won a penalty corner – which was defended well and cleared by Oaklands. The Wolves gained some momentum and limited attacks on their goal.

Oaklands made a breakthrough early in the second half and scored an acute near post flick from the baseline – a move that the players had worked on with coach Simon Archer in the build up to the weekend.

The remainder of the game was a tight affair and Oaklands soaked up lots of pressure and, perhaps due to inexperience on the big stage, picked up three cards in quick succession!

With seven minutes to go, PSC head coach opted to pull the keeper off and tried to push the advantage home against eight (yes, EIGHT!) Oaklands players. Astonishingly, Oaklands survived the Symonds onslaught and, in over four hours of game play across the weekend, had not conceded a goal and were crowned national champions for the first time.

Simon Archer, head coach of the hockey academy, said: “14 months ago Oaklands won their first ever match and to now win the Nationals on debut is a tremendous achievement and a testament to the players with the hard graft they have put in over that period”.

Success wouldn’t be possible without vastly experienced ex-GB hockey goalkeeping coach, John Hurst whose valuable insight and knowledge has been critical in success. England Under 18 goalkeeper Ollie Foot reflects:

“John has been instrumental in my development since I have joined Oaklands. His knowledge and advice are second to none and I could not be more grateful for all the hard work he has put in to help me better myself on and off the pitch”.

Oaklands hockey academy, established in 2017, is aimed at talented hockey players aged 16 years and over who are already playing at a high standard with their school, club, regional or national age group team.

With a number of high quality junior internationals throughout the team, including Welsh players Morgan Sayce, Seth Harris and Morgan Sumner, and Southgate player, Olivia Richardson – who recently made her debut for the ladies’ first team, Evie Fogden & Zara Mohammedbhai, both of whom are England College athletes.

Past Junior internationals students include John Bennett & Thomas Allen (both Wales), Paula Kolb (Germany) and Lily Knott (England Colleges)

Total Hockey

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