Saturday, 16 June 2012

Cup launch reaches finale

College siblings Halifax 1sts and Halifax 2nds will engage in a rare but dramatic battle tomorrow afternoon as the first year of the College Hockey Cup reaches its climax. With the silverware already in the Halifax trophy cabinet, the two sets of players will be fighting it out for brownie points in tomorrow’s final on the JLD in what promises to be an exciting end to an enthralling tournament. Although several matches have resulted in rather predictable outcomes, there is little doubt that the competition has been a brilliant success in its first year in terms of its smooth organisation, decent crowds and some hugely entertaining contests.

Halifax 2nds battled past Derwent 1sts today to reach the final

With the emphasis on college sport being stronger than ever before, the tournament has fitted in seamlessly with the overall target of more participation in university sport. As Vision revealed last month, although university participation in sport is in good shape relative to others around the UK, there is still room for improvement. So the fact the College Hockey Cup discourages top class university players from taking part, and encourages beginners or amateurs to do so instead, is a step in the right direction. In terms of attendance, the event can only get better and could maybe one day rival the football College Cup in popularity. Full marks must also go to Helen Marston, who has been the principal organiser of the event, ensuring that the whole process went without any hitches.

The group stages saw a flurry of goals in almost every match, in particular the 5-5 draw between Alcuin 1sts and Derwent 1sts, and an 11-2 win for Goodricke 1sts over Langwith 2nds. The following week, the incredible scoreline of Halifax 2nds 15-4 Derwent 2nds continued the trend. However, it was Goodricke who had the misfortune of losing by the biggest margin in the tournament, as they were annihilated 22-1 by Derwent 1sts in their final group match. With Halifax being the only of the big two colleges to successfully navigate both teams through the group stages, James will be slightly disappointed their second string could only finish fourth in Group 2 despite the college possessing one of the largest and strongest hockey squads.

In tomorrow’s final, Halifax 1sts will know their opponents inside out from the hours of training they have spent playing together, and their extra quality should prevail. For the 2nds, YUSU Academic Officer Graeme Osborn has played admirably week in, week out, and his team will be relying on his leadership and finishing more than ever. Nevertheless, Halifax 1sts in my opinion are still heavy favourites and already have one hand on the cup. Assuming a cup exists, of course.

You can read all reports of the College Hockey Cup matches on the York Vision hockey page.

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