For most of Bedford Hockey Club’s teams, the weekend marked the culmination of the 2021-22 season, with just a handful of postponed fixtures across the East Division remaining to be played over the next couple of weeks.
For the Club’s National League squads, meanwhile, the climax comes next weekend, as both 1st XIs go head-to-head with their final opponents.
With a fixture in front of a home crowd, and after holding third place Harleston Magpies to a 1-all draw last Sunday, the Men’s 1s will be confident of taking points against struggling Cambridge University.
The Ladies’ 1s remain securely in second spot, with top place Sutton Coldfield already being guaranteed promotion. Bedford will hope to build on their 1-all draw against Cannock on Saturday when they travel away to Oxford University.
The Men’s 2s will get to enjoy another season in Division 1, after finishing mid-table. Saturday’s fixture saw them gain a great 3-2 victory over St Albans, breaking a run of difficult weeks for the Bedford squad and ending on a high.
After falling foul to yet another Covid-related cancelation last weekend, with their Thurrock opposition having to postpone, and with an already rescheduled fixture against St Albans still to play, it will be a couple of weeks before the Ladies’ 2s will know if they are going to move higher than their current third position. Although, along with their male counterparts, they are already guaranteed to remain in Division 1 when the new season starts.
Despite a 3-0 loss away to Harpenden, the Men’s 3s will maintain their current fourth spot in the table, looking to deliver in their final match on Saturday at the Chester Road ground, taking on bottom of the table St Albans 4s.
Having secured a 3-0 victory at the weekend over Welwyn Garden City, the Ladies’ 3s will end their season’s run in a very creditable second place, ahead of Hertford on goal difference. Whilst they have an outstanding fixture this Saturday against Harpenden and will inject all their energy into securing a win, the result will have no impact on the final league standings.
The Men’s 4s have one remaining match to complete, a home fixture against Potters Bar this Saturday. They took a fantastic 3-0 victory over Harpenden at the weekend and, with Bedford third and Potters Bar low table, Bedford will be looking to grab some final points.
With all games completed, the Ladies’ 4s also conclude their season in third place. They finish with the same points as fourth placed Stevenage. Stevenage drew 1-all in their match on Saturday whilst Bedford returned to winning ways for their final fixture, triumphing with a 2-1 score line over Cheshunt. Bedford, claim the third position on goal difference, just 2 goals dividing the teams.
Sadly, for the Men’s 5s, not even their 1-all draw away to Southgate at the weekend could save them from relegation. Their move into Division 5 will not be a disappointment, however. The league restructuring had placed them inappropriately, and next season promises to be a far superior one for the squad.
The finale to the Ladies’ 5s season, a 4-0 win over Letchworth, was celebrated with the popping of champagne corks. With 16 wins, 1 draw and only 1 loss across the season, the team dominated the league, with an incredible 91 goals scored and only 10 conceded. Their promotion will provide a far better pathway for female players through the Club, as the erroneous restructuring had resulted in the Ladies 5s and 6s being placed in the same division this season.
With one remaining match still to be rearranged, the Ladies’ 6s, despite a 5-0 loss to Stevenage at the weekend, are guaranteed to continue within the division. The Men’s 6s have, also, ensured a place in their same division for 2022-23.
The Men’s Vets have put in an immense effort this season, with intensive weekly training sessions for the squad. Their commitment has now come to fruition. Following the weekend’s 6-0 victory over Southgate, they end with a fifth-place position in the league
Bedford’s two development squads, the Men’s, and Ladies’ 7s have progressed greatly as the season has unfolded. The ladies have one final match this weekend, against Stevenage, whilst the men finished their run with a 4-2 victory over Southgate.
As the men’s and ladies’ leagues come to their conclusion, attention will now turn to mixed hockey, with the men and women from Bedford Hockey Club, along with several surrounding clubs, combining to create teams for the Mixed Summer League, taking place on weekday evenings.
There are also some exciting Master's fixtures to look forward to, with the Ladies' Over 55s playing in the finals of the England Hockey Championships, taking on Ben Rhydding at Lee Valley on the 30th of April, and defending champions, the Ladies' Over 35s, heading to Alderley Edge on the 3rd of April for the semi-finals, aiming to reach their Lee Valley final on the 1st of May.
The Chester Road pitches were alive with energy and laughter for the final Sunday Juniors session, until their return in September. Olney Junior Hockey Club’s Under 8s and Under 10s joined the Bedford juniors for drills and games, led by former England and GB hockey player, and England's Girls Under 16s Head Coach, Lisa Letchford.
The Club's Girls Under 18s squad, meanwhile, put in a powerful performance in a Monday evening fixture against St Neots, goals from Tash, Amelie, Cerys, Amelia, and Kaavya securing the victory.
If you want to learn more about Bedford Hockey Club, why not visit the Club’s stand, which will be in the Sports Village at this year’s River festival.