History boys are ‘The Invincibles’

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AFTER suffering rele-gation heartbreak, Sudbury Hockey Club wanted their men’s first team to bounce back in style – but winning 22 games out of 22 was the kind of feat no-one could have dreamt up.

AFTER suffering rele-gation heartbreak, Sudbury Hockey Club wanted their men’s first team to bounce back in style – but winning 22 games out of 22 was the kind of feat no-one could have dreamt up.

The side have now ensured their place in the history books, by becoming the first known side to have a perfect season in the East League, having played more than 20 games.

The 22nd win in their incredible sequence was picked up at second-placed Gorleston on Saturday - a mere 4-0 win, underlying their total dominance of Division 3NE.

It meant Sudbury won the title by a clear 14-point margin and their miserly defence only conceded 20 goals in the entire campaign.

Keeper Chris Smith, also the club’s publicity officer, said: “Played 22 and won 22 is the best I have ever heard of, looking through the club and league records. Quite a few teams have gone unbeaten through a season but nothing like this.”

Celebrations kicked off immediately after the final whistle at Gorleston, while the drinks were flowing on the minibus home, and long into the night in Sudbury.

With the season only just over though, Smith and his fellow team-mates have already begun eyeing up what can be achieved with their ‘invincibles’ tag next campaign, back in Division 2N.

“That winning mentality should positively affect everyone next season,” he said. “We are going to lose a couple of players to university but a few young lads have already stepped up.

“A top four finish will be the main aim, with four teams being relegated and two getting promoted. Only six teams stay in the league so there is no hiding place for anyone.”

Sudbury had gone down last spring in the fourth relegation place, with the team now having proved that a bit of bad luck saw them mistakenly dumped down a level.

“I think the men’s firsts were very unlucky to go down,” said Smith. “We scored 66 points, winning all our games this season and the fourth team to go down normally has 30 points, so some strong teams get relegated.”

The triumphant first team will be in action one final time this weekend, when they take on touring side Gorillas, made up of ex-Sudbury Bury and Colchester players, in a friendly at Great Cornard Sports Centre’s artificial pitch, at the upper school, on Saturday (3.45pm).