Week 10 brought the familiar end-of-term absences and injuries, but our 4 captains nonetheless scrounged out 4 teams in preparation for the Saturday fixtures. Strains on numbers were alleviated somewhat, however, by the cancellation of both Warwick home games due to frozen pitches. As such, the 2s and 4s were left without games.
The 1s continued to journey up to Wolverhampton though, having drafted in Tim Young for the game which pitted the Mag Men against one of the league’s highest placed teams. A gritty performance saw the students manage to stay in the game and compete for the first half, defending well and looking to counter-attack whenever possible, without ever finding that clinical edge. The second half, however, saw Wolverhampton score with two fine strikes, after Jons Mottram had heroically kept them at bay until that point. Warwick did not give up however, and pulled one back through Harry Wilson, though they squandered another chance to take themselves level. A close result though, and one indicative of what the 1s can achieve this term if they can continue to compete with teams much higher than them. As such the Mag Men went into the winter break 3rd from bottom, but showing signs of resurgence and quality, as exemplified by their unbeaten form in BUCS, where they sit top of their league with 4 wins and a draw.
In the other game that survived the freezing conditions, the 3s travelled to Stourport, and were bitterly disappointed to come away on the wrong side of a 4-1 scoreline against a team who had been only 1 place above them in the league. The 3 points allowed Stourport to climb out of the relegation places, and compounded the 3s position within them. However, in a very tough league and with a very stretched squad for this game in particular – a number of key players not available including the dominant Charlie Baker – the boys should not be disheartened, with half a season to turn things around in a league where 4 teams will be relegated. What is more, strong performances in BUCS competition sees them sitting level on points in second place with Stoke.
Whilst the 2s and 4s did not play in Week 10, they both emerge from their Christmas slumber in healthy league positions (although possibly not healthy fitness condition). The 2s have had a successful first-half of the season in Midlands 1, and currently sit in 5th place, but are only 2 points behind 2nd with a game in hand. Strong. They have the skill to overcome the external barriers that saw the Chirpsters squander their equally strong start last season. They also join the 1s in being unbeaten in BUCS so far, winning 5 and drawing 1, and helped the 1s send the two Brookes teams that paid us a visit on one particular Wednesday back to Oxford on the wrong end of a 13-0 aggregate scoreline.
The 4s meanwhile continue to post strong results under the leadership of Justin Bieber, with some freshers stepping up to give great performances. They too are 5th in MRHA with a game in hand, in another league where 4 will go down this season. They are also currently 5th in their BUCS league, but will be certainly looking to improve upon that in the second half of the year.
With lots to look forward to on the field; relegation battles, promotion campaigns, not to mention cup glory to be sought, there are also plenty of “extra-curricular” activities to be enjoyed. Circle Week 1 promises to be a big one, with School Dayz and the annual Hockey Ball also being lined up this term, to name only a few. Bon Chance to all teams this term, Happy New Year, eat it or wear it. We also gather that Ian Tutssel has finally managed to get in some UWMHC gilets. Ling mate.