On March 26th the Sevenoaks Men’s 1st XI were crowned England Hockey National Conference East Champions and they will now compete in the England Hockey Premier League for the 2017/18 season, the first time in the club’s 105 year history. It’s a very exciting time to be part of the Sevenoaks club and just after they have given up their reign as England Hockey Club of the Year.
In their opening match of the season, Sevenoaks will face league stalwarts Reading at home. The match will take place on Saturday 23rd September. We had a few questions with Tim Warrington, the 1st team captain, here’s what he had to say:
How are the club preparing for the new season, have the fitness regimes been stepped up or started earlier than normal?
“There has been an awful lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure that we’re prepared on and off the pitch for our Premier League campaign. We’re working hard on recruitment to try and strengthen the squad with two or three top class players – we’re not looking for wholesale changes because we believe in the squad that got us promoted, but we are conscious that there is always scope to add a little bit of extra quality to help us with the step up.”
“With regards to pre-season, we start full training on the 27th July, giving us around 8 weeks to get up to speed ahead of the opening weekend. Since Duncan Parnis, our player-coach, took over at the club three seasons ago we have gradually built up our pre-season programme to be aligned with the Premier League clubs already, so we are not really starting any earlier than previous years. The league does actually starts a week later this year, so we do have one extra week of pre-season as a result of the change to the league calendar.”
As team captain, please can you tell us how you expect to feel leading the team out against Premier League stalwarts Reading on September 23rd?
“I think personally I’ll feel a huge sense of achievement. I have never played in the Premier League, but have always wanted to test myself at that level. When I joined the club 9 seasons ago, I always dreamt that we would one day be a Premier League club. There have been some ups and downs since I first pulled on the purple shirt but to be realising my ambition to play at the highest domestic level in the country, and to be doing it, as captain, with a club I’ve grown to love is something I’m super proud of.”
What are your personal hopes for the season?
“My main hope for the team is that we pick up where we left off last season. We played some stunning hockey in the second half of the season, winning our last nine league games and first two playoff games to secure promotion. If we can play with the same confidence and quality then we will be competitive and could surprise a few people.”
About Sevenoaks Hockey Club
- The team train and play on a hybrid pitch at Hollybush Lane
- The pitch has just been re-surfaced, with a launch party planned for Friday 21st July
- During the past three seasons, the Men’s 1st XI have been promoted as unbeaten champions of the South Premier League, finished 3rd in their first season back in the National League and most recently finished as Champions of the National Conference East
- In 2016, the club were named England Hockey Club of the Year and European Hockey Federation Club of the Year
England Hockey Premier League – Sevenoaks Men’s 1st XI fixtures
|Date||Day||Home team||Away team|
|11/11/17||Sat||Hampstead & Westminster||Sevenoaks|
|03/03/18||Sat||Sevenoaks||Hampstead & Westminster|
The full interview with Tim Warrington will be published in the first issue of Sevenoaks Sports Magazine in August.