History beckons for Chris Smith's Sudbury Hockey Club side this weekend
Sudbury Hockey Club’s men’s first team are looking to write their names into the history books this weekend as they aim to snatch the East Men’s League Division 1 title.
The side, co-captained by long-term players Chris Smith and Rob Hammond, go into their final game, against Crostyx at Great Cornard Sports Centre on Saturday (2pm), knowing if they better current leaders Broxbourne’s result against third-placed Old Southendians, they will be crowned champions.
Whatever happens, Sudbury are set to be playing Premier B hockey for the first time since their relegation 19 years ago next season, following a 3-1 victory at relegation-threatened Harleston Magpies II on Saturday.
But this weekend’s match will decide if they make club history by getting their hands on the title, having led the table for much of the first half of the season.
“It is pretty exciting,” admitted goalkeeper Smith. “We were disappointed with our form after Christmas as we were dropping points. But it is good to be where we are and it is very pleasing to have the opportunity to win it going into the last weekend, as that was our goal; we wanted to be champions, not second or third.”
Broxbourne’s home game starts half-an-hour ahead of Sudbury’s, but Smith said he will be encouraging his side not to be distracted by events elsewhere, until their match is finished.
“We have got to do it Saturday and hope for a result in the other game,” he said.
“They are almost identical start times but to be fair we do not want to know we want to go out and win our game and see what happens and just do the best we can.”
Of opponents Crostyx, who are fourth from bottom, he said: “They have drawn nine or 10 games, which shows they are not an easy side to take points off.
“We will not be going into it with any pre-conceived ideas and we certainly feel we owe them as at their game earlier in the season we had two goals ruled out and we drew (1-1, Dec 1) when we should have won, but we did not take our chances.”
Smith is hopeful they will be well supported on Saturday and said they will not be looking to adapt their game to the situation, having built their season on an attacking mindset that has seen them score more times (66 to Broxbourne’s 60), the majority credited to Will Chrystal, than any other team in the division.
But injuries mean Chris Edwards (broken thumb) is ruled out while Brendan Mayers (arm) faces a fitness test.