REDDITCH Hockey Club celebrated a very positive season at the annual awards dinner and disco at their Bromsgrove Road clubhouse, where members of all ages and abilities came together to enjoy a great evening and reflect on a year of building foundations for the future.
There were highs and lows during the 2015/16 campaign but throughout there was a team spirit in abundance and, with a burgeoning youth section, the future looks rosy for the club.
Clubman of the Season Adrian Young reflects on the various sides’ fortunes.
Men’s 1st XI – 4th in West Midlands Division One – Played 18, Won 12, Drew 2, Lost 4
DESPITE being in the hunt for promotion throughout the campaign, the 1st XI captained by Pete Dawson suffered some late defeats to slip to fourth place.
Upon reflection it was the games against their promotion rivals in which Redditch were found out as they suffered defeats at the hands of Leamington (twice), Stafford and West Bromwich.
There were, however, some notable performances as the Redditch defence kept seven clean sheets and going forward they scored four or more goals on seven occasions, including an 8-2 victory against Newtown before Christmas and a 6-0 win against Yardley in February.
Player of the Season was a close vote this year as top scorer Harry Capewell and vice-captain Andy Billingham both impressed throughout the season and Will Moss showed much improvement in his first season in the team, however it was Jacob Beard who took the award in a season that saw him prove himself as an important versatile player as he regularly performed well in a variety of positions and contributed to the team’s goals and assists tally.
Top scorers: Harry Capewell 25 (third highest scorer in the league); Dan Waite 10; Andy Billingham 6.
Ladies’ 1st XI – 8th in Worcestershire League Division One – Played 16, Won 5, Drew 2, Lost 9
THE LADIES’ 1st XI worked hard this season but finished second from bottom.
The team spirit under captain Jodie Williams was very positive and there were some notable performances throughout the season including victories against Bournville, Harborne 4ths (twice), Pershore and Bromsgrove 2nds, as well as coming from behind to draw 5-5 in thriller against Bromsgrove 2nds in November.
Williams, Lindsay O’Brien and Amy Youster have contributed to the goals tally as well as several other players, but it was Anna Stafford who finished the season as top goalscorer for the team.
Player of the Season was another close vote but it was Emma Preston who was rewarded for her consistently strong performances in midfield.
The ladies are now looking to recruit new members over the summer in the hope of launching a new ladies’ 2nd team.
Free training sessions open to all ages and abilities are being held at the Redditch Hockey Club pitch on Saturday mornings between 10-11am starting on April 30.
Men’s 2nd XI – 4th in West Midlands Division Two 2nd Team League – Played 20, Won 13, Drew 2, Lost 5
AFTER a couple of difficult seasons, the 2nd XI were in contention for promotion two thirds of the way through the campaign but a couple of poor performances and a points deduction meant they finished fourth, six points off the top two.
Eleven different players got on the scoresheet for the team, led by Richard Sellors, and notable highlights included the 9-1 thrashing of Ludlow in March and 6-0 and 5-0 victories over Evesham and Kings Heath in December.
Several younger players were making their debut at 2nd team level this season and put in some steady performances, but it was young goalkeeper Joe Cardy who impressed his team-mates the most to be voted as Player of the Season for the second year running.
Top scorers: Lee Beedon 18 (third highest scorer in the league); Richard Sellors 11; Andy Brooks 7.
Men’s 3rd XI – 5th in West Midlands Division One 3rd Team League – Played 20, Won 7, Drew 6, Lost 7
IT HAS been a very positive season for the men’s 3rd XI which has seen several young players make their debuts for the club in league hockey and they have improved greatly.
Under the guidance of captain and club coach Wayne Beard, as well as other senior players, the youngsters have improved their skills and matchplay and, with them all aged 15 or younger, the future appears bright for Redditch hockey.
A top half finish is a great result for the team who battled hard all season, with the highlight coming towards the end of the campaign when they came from behind to draw 3-3 with high-flying West Bromwich, who were promoted after finishing second in the league, some 18 points ahead of Redditch.
Goals flowed throughout the team and top spot was shared between the captain and youngster Ethan Reeves.
Reeves, along with fellow youngsters Josh Brown and Josh Baker, all had fantastic seasons, but it was the talented Harry Williams who was voted Player of the Season by his team.
Top scorers: Wayne Beard and Ethan Reeves 8; Harry Williams 7; Josh Baker 4.
Redditch Badgers – Played 23, Won 9, Drew 1, Lost 13
SEVEN new children joined the Badgers squad, all aged 12 or below.
This season also saw debuts for two goalkeepers. With the squad ranging in age from ten to 15, each player has developed their skill set and more importantly worked hard for the team.
There was a fine performance against local rivals Bromsgrove as Redditch scored nine goals and dominated from start to finish.
The Badgers have played some tough opposition this season, notably Stourport and Worcester, and given them hard games including the fightback against Stourport when Redditch were losing 3-0 at half time but salvaged a 3-3 draw.
Top goalscorer was under 13 player Alfie Wheeler in his first season with the Badgers as he netted eight times. He was chased right to the end by Harry Saunders who only joined the team at Christmas and scored six goals in nine games.
Another notable performer was 11-year-old Ben Morris who proved a strong addition to the side having never played hockey before trying it at the linked satellite club (Walkwood) and only just missed out on the Player of the Season accolade.
However, Player of the Season was 12-year-old Callum Jones in his first full season with the team. He has worked hard on his own skill set, listened and taken on board coaching points and worked on these at home and at training.
With a fine attitude, Jones has played in every outfield position, never complains and just wants to play hockey.
Redditch Hockey Club junior training numbers have steadily increased with many new players coming from linked school clubs going straight into the Badgers set-up.
Nine juniors passed trials to represent Worcestershire this season – the most the club has had in recent history.
Badgers words compiled by captain and junior coach Sharon Smith.
Other award winners: Coaches’ Award for outstanding contribution – Ben Haresign and Nick Haynes; Most Improved Player – Jake Porter; Joe Baggs Memorial Award for outstanding contribution – Jodie Williams; Clubman Award – Adrian Young.