Chris Glover giving some wise words. Photo c/o Phil Kielthy

It is amazing to think that we have already reached the half way mark in the season following last week’s round of matches, and that this week we face our final game before we head to the winter break. It has already proved to be a very exciting and entertaining first half of the season at Beeston, and as we welcome our friends and rivals Loughborough Students to Nottingham Hockey Centre this weekend we are fully aware that another positive result on Saturday would leave us well placed over Christmas.
It seems a good point for me to reflect on the previous ten weeks, and to look forward to what promises to be an exciting remaining few months of the season with plenty of opportunities ahead. So far our record has been very good. Across our nine league matches, we have won 7 with just one draw and one loss. In any normal season that would see us sit top of the table but we have to give huge credit to Brooklands Poynton who have won every game bar the one they lost to ourselves. In the Investec Cup, we have made good progress, moving forward to the quarter finals for the first time in a few years, and we are very much looking forward to hosting Sevenoaks in February in what promises to be an entertaining game.
Colin Clarke our new Head Coach has made a huge impact, and he has brought a fresh approach and lots of energy to the side. His high standards and ‘relentless’ approach have really started to bear fruit, and while it is still early on in his tenure, I have no doubt that we have the right person in place to take us to where we want to go.
On the pitch Sophie Robinson has done an exceptional job in her first season as Captain, showing good leadership on and off the pitch and it was a real pleasure to see her notch her 100th goal in black and yellow a couple of weeks ago. We have also welcomed Rosario Villagra from Argentina who has provided some South American flair to our midfield, and we have been delighted to celebrate a number of representative honours, in particular those of Esme Burge and Eloise Stenner who are currently away at the U21 World Cup.
Behind the scenes, others have been working hard to provide the platform for success. The appointment of Phil Rhodes this year as Assistant Coach alongside myself and Head Coach Colin, has given us a really strong coaching team and this is also boosted by the brilliant work Clive Morris is doing with the Ladies 2nd XI who currently sit top of Midlands Premier League, the feeder division to Conference North. The strength in depth demonstrated by the success of the 2nd XI will be vital as we look to compete across all fronts going into the new year.
There are others though who contribute a huge amount to the Ladies performance programme on a voluntary basis. We had to say goodbye to Steve Ellis this year who did a splendid job as our Umpire Liaison Officer last season, but we have been lucky to see Rob Naylor step into the role this season. We have also been lucky to receive the help of George Bacon, Josh Bembridge and Richard Karran on match days. Without the support of all these people behind the scenes, my job would be incredibly difficult so to them I say a huge thank you.
On Saturday we face a big test taking on a well drilled Loughborough side. Our recent league game a few weeks ago proved to be a tight affair in terms of the score line and we know that our visitors will once again set out to make it difficult for us. We will need to be at our best as we were at Wakefield last week if we are to get the result we desire.
After this weekend, we will then switch our focus to the indoor programme where we hope to make further progress on last year. I know Colin is keen to move our indoor hockey forward, so I look forward to seeing our team make significant development over December and January.
Finally, Saturday is all about celebrating the amazing Martin Dawkins. You will read more about Martin elsewhere in the programme, but I hope the whole Dawkins family enjoy an excellent day today as our guests.
I look forward to welcoming umpires Gemma Jones and Sophie Parker along with match delegate Lesley Evans. We would also like to say a huge thank you to our match sponsors Modern Plant Hire. I hope you to see you on Saturday and we not only celebrate a Beeston win but also raising a lot of money for charity!
Come on you Bees!