Double promotions for hockey club despite virus effects
BRISTOL & West Hockey Club have regained Championship status for the first time since the merger between North Bristol and West Gloucestershire back in 2008.
Led into battle by captain Ed Ledger, and bolstered by the arrival of 2 Premiership level players, the 1st team started the 2019/20 campaign with promotion as their primary objective.
The lads started strong, topping the table for the first few weeks. After suffering back-to-back defeats to the two Bath based teams, they found themselves slip to 5th place but managed to work themselves into a battle for 2nd place against Leominster towards the end of the season, with Bath Buccs B safely at the top.
After a last-gasp win at Chippenham and a home victory over Cirencester at the Ridings, they had cut the gap to 1st place to just 4 points.
Then, late drama – Leominster lodged a formal complaint against the league leaders in relation to their match squad paperwork. Their request was successful and the overall outcome was that they gained 3 points, with Buccs losing 3 points and 5 goals, and given a further 3-point penalty for incorrectly filled paperwork.
The league confirmed that Bristol & West were champions of the Conference North Division and are promoted to the Championship Division!
Under new captaincy in the form of Simon Barrett, the 2nd XI also set out with the goal of promotion. Getting off to a great start with a 12-0 thrashing of Cardiff & Met C, the 2s won 17 of their 21 games, only drawing 2 and losing 2. They scored an impressive 115 goals in total and finished with a +75 goal difference. Somehow, it still wasn’t enough for 1st place as Stroud topped the table. B&W 2s finished with the last laugh though, ending Stroud’s 100% win streak on the last day of the season by holding them to a 3-3 draw away – securing their promotion to the De Cymru & The Marches 1 league at the same time!
Bristol & West Jaspers 1st XI were also aiming for promotion back to the Premiership leagues, but ultimately fell just shy of their goal. With only 1 team gaining promotion from the North Division, the ladies came agonisingly close, finishing second despite having the only undefeated home record.
Picture: Simon Goodwin Platinum Photography