Hockey Section AGM Reports
Women’s First Team
After immediate promotion back to the National League, we knew it was going to be a tough season staying there. We’ve had a mixed bag of results, with our best performances being away from home, most notably a 1-0 win at Durham and a 3-2 win over Sutton Coldfield, who had just dropped out of the National Premier League. We have proved to be a tough team to break down, and don’t concede many goals, however scoring them at the other end has proved to be a problem. We finished the season in the playoff position, and after taking a trip down to watch both our rivals play, I had every confidence we could beat both sides. But with a very late twist in the league, Kendal were deducted 5 points for playing an ineligible player, and our superior goal difference pushed us up to safety. It hasn’t been an easy season by any means, but I’m being completely honest in saying I truly believe it’s nothing short of what we deserve. The team’s commitment to training has once again been excellent, and we have shown we can be more than competitive against the top teams in our league. One of the most positive things to come out of this season is the performance of some of our younger players, who have never experienced playing at this level but have stepped up to the plate and really improved this season. As always, none of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our manager, Gill Cussons, and coach, Natalie Hannah, but I would also like to say a big thank you to Jill Mclindon and Alex Price for stepping in and helping out as our manager at various times this season.
Men’s First Team
Apologies once again that I am unable to be in attendance and deliver this speech in person. There is, however, great comfort in knowing that whoever is stood before you playing my body double is to be considered culpable for any indiscretions or offence caused by this report.
In summary our season concluded in a cloud of disappointment, finishing 7th behind West Derby, despite the fact we were tied on points and we hold a greater goal difference. The league could obviously benefit from a Brian Stewart bookkeeping tutorial.
Despite losing the first two league fixtures, we soon found our Sefton groove, winning 8 out of 10 league games, propelling us to 3rd and within touching distance of the hallowed play off position. At this point attendance at training and match availability was teetering above adequate and at times I had 16 or 17 players to select from.
Our season hinged on a 3rd v 2nd fixture against Lancaster and Morecambe. In the words of Brendan Rodgers, “we lacked the big game mentality” and subsequently lost 4:0.
Shortly after this attendance at training slumped, the Irish contingent of our team decided to book day spas with their respective girlfriends, though a rumour exists that it’s the same girl. Our national league import and part time coach, Adrian, who moved to Liverpool as part of the Mark Forshaw Cornish transfer saga then became unavailable due to work commitments and to top it off, an ex member and occasionally 4s player decided to organise Happy’s stag do, taking half the team with him.
Injuries and illness also played a part ruling Ron and Chris Allen out for large chunks of the season.
In 3 games we conceded 23 goals, only managing to score 2 in response. I went from selecting players from a vast pool of riches to relying heavily on Rob Thomas and the men’s 2s. My thanks go out to all those players who stepped in at the last minute to help us fulfil fixtures towards the end of the season. I can only hope that those players continue and in some cases start to attend training in order to close the gap between the two teams.
In essence we were found out as a team and a club. If both the men’s 1s & 2s wish to progress we can no longer rely on individual talent and must pull together as a collective. This means attending pre-season fitness, turning up at training and showing a desire to play at your highest standard. Hopefully the club and committee will deliver the plans that are being worked on behind the scenes, and provide those playing members who have this desire to succeed.
My lowest moment as captain this season was receiving texts from skilful and talented players who wanted to play 2s rather than represent the men’s 1st. It is embarrassing for myself as an individual but also as a team that this was the case, but it also goes to highlight the attitude of some members in this room tonight. No doubt they had their own reasons for this.
It is also incredibly annoying getting texts each week asking what colour kit we are in or whether I have a postcode.
To finish on a high note. Ciggy was outstanding this season, both on the pitch in his new position of left wing back but most impressively with his attitude towards the games and training; Ciggy, you were very good throughout and should be considered as one of the examplar senior members who will hopefully push the team on next season.
Have a great night, enjoy the more upbeat reports from the other captains. I hope for your sake no one has asked Peter Turton to do his traditional stand up routine.
Women’s Second Team
We went into this season with excitement, nerves and most of the same team as last season. Having qualified for Division 2 NW of the North League we were looking forward to playing new, different opposition and to challenging ourselves to become a better team. We set ourselves the target of taking something to work on from each game. We were pleasantly surprised with a couple of well fought loses and a string of 5 wins taking us into November. We grew in confidence and took each game as it was, for once not knowing what to expect from the opposition! We started the second half of the season with most people’s highlight which was beating Pendle Forest 1-0. They went on to win the league by 8 points however we were the only team that beat them leaving a lovely red box on their fixtures live page. I think I speak for everyone when I say that playing in this league this season was exactly what we have been striving to do for the last few years. We have learned something from each experience whether it was something we did well that we need to continue with or something we didn’t do at all and need to work on. I am extremely proud to say that we finished in 5th position out of 12, at one point we were sitting in 3rd place which I have a screen shot of, and have remained in the North West Division Two League. This is harder to achieve than it sounds as three teams, at least, are relegated every year. I would like to thank the team for their dedication, turning up at training each week, making themselves available for most matches and for working hard to fight for each point! We would all like to thank Cath for her continued support, encouragement and for the odd kick up the backside as well as Chris and Mike for their contribution which we all appreciate. I would like to thank Rachel Kelly for sorting the umpires every week as it is a massive weight off the captain’s shoulders. Thank you to all the people who have umpired for us over the season as well. Well done girls, same again next season!
Men’s Second Team
The Men’s 2s started the season with a strengthened squad thanks to the new additions to the club of Paddy Thompson, Martin Tsang and Gareth Gray and the promotion of Simon Sullivan from the thirds. The season started brightly with two home wins and then entered a period of mixed results. Owen Jones returned to the club and was quickly called up from the thirds to become an integral part of the team. Results in the first half of the season didn’t always reflect the potential of the side; a high scoring win one week followed by a heavy defeat the next. Despite some close matches November was a month to forget with no points being picked up in the league but the ability in the side was highlighted in the plate at the end of the month. Having lost in the first round of the 2nd XI cup in a close fought match away at Timperley, we were drawn at home to Preston 2s. Despite Preston 2s being in a higher league than our 1st team we led the match on three occasions but couldn’t quite close the game out. The match finished 3-3 and we ultimately lost out on penalty strokes. Despite feeling we should have got more from the game, the quality of the attacking and defensive play seemed to provide momentum going forwards for the rest of the season. The second half of the season was much improved losing only 4 league games compared to 7 in the first half. The team finished the season comfortably in mid-table and narrowly missed out on breaking 30 point in a season. We did however get the highest number of points by the LSHC 2nd team in this league for the past four seasons.
Women’s Third Team
Overall it’s been a successful season for the Ladies 3’s. Last season we found ourselves fighting for our lives in a relegation battle, this year we were in playoffs for promotion to the North league…hopefully a sign of things to come! We ended up finishing 3rd in Lancashire Division One which is a great achievement, given we are playing against are 1st and 2nd teams,
In the league we played 14, won 10, drew 2 and lost 2. We scored 39 goals and conceded 12. We got to the semi-final of the Lancashire Cup only to be defeated by West Derby in a closely fought 1-0 game. We also won the Lancashire 7’s cup at the start of the year by beating Northern 1’s on flicks who play in North League 2.
We can take a lot from this season as we look forward to the next, well done to all the girls for their time and commitment throughout the season.
Men’s Third Team
Roll back 12 months to this dinner and cue (lack of) enthusiasm for captaining the 3s for the coming season. Over the course of the summer it was decided that I should take on the mantle of the Men’s 3s for the new season. Rob Diggle decided to take a break from such duties after many years of doing so.
Given the history of the 3s during my time at the club, this sounded like some sort of poisoned chalice, with the team hovering mid table and in relegation battles for a succession of seasons. Oh well, our luck will change this year; and so we went off to the first game of the season against Rhyl. A poisoned chalice you say? After this first game, I was wondering what I had got myself into – two weeks spend trying to contact the Rhyl captain to no avail led us to having only 10 men at this first game of the season and an eventual loss 3-2 to the league champions. They admitted themselves that they would have lost to us if we had fielded 11 men – maybe they knew more than we did about the season to come.
As the table above will testify, it was indeed an excellent season for my team. Finishing 3rd in this league should have been a given at the beginning of the season, but a second loss to Winnington in the second game of the season rapidly made us rethink. Thankfully, that was the majority of the bad news in the first half of the season, with Sefton losing only two more games until Christmas, and subsequently only one game after Christmas, on the last day of the season. Amongst all of these draws and victories came some lovely spells of hockey, some ghastly times; but for some excellent defending throughout, these didn’t go punished too far!
Without going into detail about every single game of the season (staying eco-friendly etc and not wasting paper!), some of the highlights have to be the following select matches:
Away to Bebington 5s:
10-1 victory to Sefton, with a last minute short corner reverse stick shot to the top of the backboard by myself for the 10th overshadowed somewhat (only just, mind!) by Grant Mullen’s 7 (seven!?!?!) goals in the game. No-one debated this at the final whistle, everyone else counted their goals, and with 7 left over, I think Grant just claimed them all! Greedy bar steward!
This was also the first game of the season that we really saw a front two pairing playing that well together of Grant and (curious) Jorge.
Women’s Fourth Team
Overall I have been very pleased with our performance this season. We finished 3rd in the league behind Wigan 2s and a very experienced Formby 3s. We also reached our 4th cup final in a row, unfortunately losing to Formby 3s. This is a great achievement considering we had a new captain this season and a new coach, plus the surface we train on at ESLA is very poor. If we can keep the majority of our players and train on a proper sized pitch then I am very hopeful for next season. Especially as I imagine that whoever is relegated into our league will not be as strong as Formby 3s!
We benefited from last summer’s very successful back to hockey campaign with new players Rachel Williams and Jen Byrne both playing most of our games and making a positive impact.
The teams above us will be delighted to hear that our juniors have been fantastic this season. Every one of them has shown improvements in terms of ability and attitude. If they continue to train hard then it won’t be long before we lose them to ours 3s.
Congratulations to Emily Anson who was our top scorer with 9 goals, and our Hollie Scott who is officially (statistically) the club’s best defender! Definitely worth coming out of retirement for that achievement Hollie! Also special mention to Izzy who holds the new record for the greatest number of balls successfully hit into people’s faces in one season!
Thanks very much to Sus, Colette, Jenny B and Gill for showing me the captain’s ropes this season.
Men’s Fourth Team
This was a marvellous season. We enjoyed our hockey, won a game (actually seven) and scored 46 goals. We were so good that Deeside Ramblers accused us of playing ringers. We said nothing (officially) about Mossley Hill and others who had some miraculously talented players in their lower sides!
We were led on the pitch by the tactical nous of the 4ths Gary Neville, the evergreen (mouldy?) Ade Preece, and inspired (intimidated?) by the encouraging comments of Ged Ward before and after his mid- season life-saving operation following his stroke which so disrespectfully disrupted our season. The highlights of the season were our last 2 matches where we had a record 16 players on the pitch side and 2 were not selected!
The success of the team can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, we had a full team for all but one match; secondly, we had 4 youngsters Adit Bassi, Jon Boden, Joe Lewis. and Jack Morris who played and trained and improved through the season; thirdly, we gained a number of reliable and enthusiastic youngsters (and not so youngsters) from our Universities who contributed in many ways to our success not least by attracting other new players (thanks Ross Kelly Ben Green and James Skinkis) ; fourthly, a regular and improving goalkeeper in Jack Jones (let’s selfishly hope he stays in Liverpool for his university studies), and lastly, the resurrection of the toothless Carlos Tevez (aka Paddy Walker) who managed to score many of our goals (all from less than 5 yards or are they metres these days?) We welcomed back Jon Feaver when on leave from the Royal Navy and Mark Lawton’s support from the touchline and welcomed Gabriel Schinina from Italy and young Charlie Parry for our last few games.
We were sad to lose Garrik Dillon, to of all places the East Midlands, and Nick Harper to the joys of hourly paid contracts and volunteering to get into the job market.
I am grateful to all the lads for a great season and particularly Rachel Kelly and all those who umpired for us throughout the season and James Robinson for his coaching (poorly attended) and his generosity when trying to juggle players to make up for non-availability in the upper teams.
Women’s Fifth Team
We finished 8th out of 9 in our division our highest place was 6th. Won 3, drew 1 and lost 12. Conceded 79 goals and scored 13. Our goal scorers were Erin Denn 5, Kate Anson 2, Ffion Cowen 2, Jen Cassidy 1, Alex Walker 1, Jess McNally 1, Natalie Green 1.
Our main issue was being short of players at the start of the season and the wait to find out availability from the 4 teams above often did not leave us with much time to source players if ours were taken to play above. Some matches saw us play with no subs or short of players which was very tiring for a new team still learning to play the game and with each other. Something the club needs to work on is consideration for each other as the teams at the top picking late has massive impact on the lower teams.
The rest of our season was positive, we started a new team with enthusiastic players, we have improved dramatically throughout the season and welcomed new players through until February. We have felt the group become a team and have enjoyed all our matches, learning from the losses and celebrating our wins. We were congratulated by the Formby 3’s for being the first team to hold them from scoring for as long as we did, it was 36 minutes before they scored in our final match. We lost 9-0 in end but we left that match on a high on par with our wins.
People worthy of thanks: We have had a lot of support from others in the club, Gill has been on hand to help us out and let us know what the rules are, Rachel and her magic of arranging umpires made one less thing for me to try and understand and arrange. Daisy Pepper has supported us the whole way through and always considered who we had to play when picking her team each week, Daisy would also help to source players when we were short. Lauren Wilson who not only asked everyone one possible at her university if they could play for us when we were short, enabled us to welcome some new and regular players to the club. Susie McFarlane who played with us and is fantastic and motivating and knows everything you need to know about hockey.
Within the team, it has been a pleasure to have these ladies as my first team as captain, they are very supportive of each other and have supported me as I became more and more pregnant. Caroline O’Brien was my vice captain and took over as captain on pitch and organising the team when I couldn’t attend. Jen Cassidy led the warms up and became more and more vocal on pitch helping to motivate and guide the team. Erin Denn played every match this season and became on pitch captain when Caroline was unable to attend, She has supported me and the team throughout the season and will be taking the vice captain role next season.
We have had a lot of mis-understandings of the rules throughout the seasons, Ffion was renowned for walking off the pitch when she was supposed to stay on. After months of telling the team to talk to each other Erin finally screamed ‘HELP’ when she had nowhere to go, the call was met by Steph running down the wing shouting ‘I’m here!!!!’.
I am pleased that we ended the season all pleased with our effort and improvement. We are looking forward to next season where we are hoping to form a more stable team and continue to improve our performance.
Finance Comments – April 2015
As you may have (or may not have) noticed I am missing from the AGM this year. I would be upset if I wasn’t in Barcelona right now. I am well known for my short speeches so I will keep this short so you can start throwing food at each other.
There has been a lot of change in both LCC and LSHC over the past year and I’m glad to say that most of it has been positive. I am very thankful to have the assistance of Alex Price, Rob Thomas, Jane Gaston and the committee (they have to put up with a lot of moaning from me).
Thank you also to the Captains for the support given in collecting match fees. I am fully aware that this is not always an easy task. Needless to say, can everyone pay in anything still outstanding as all the figures need to be collected to finalise the accounts.
I am happy to say that the club is moving in the right direction and we are hoping to clear the long standing debt with LCC in the near future. However, as well as obtaining a new coach for the men’s 1st team, we are looking to give players the opportunity to go on umpiring or coaching courses to develop within the club and this all costs money.
Given this, next year, we are looking to develop on some of the good fundraising that has taken place this year so your support will be needed but we also plan to focus more on areas of sponsorship.
Please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss any financial matters.
P.S. Can somebody collect my “player of the season” award for me please.
The 2014/2015 season saw the umpires of Liverpool Sefton Hockey Club heading into a new era. With a vast array of experience the section saw themselves braced with support from old faithful and newly qualified faces alike.
We started the season with 11 umpires from within the section; Bill Chambers, William Chambers, Ted Williams, Peter Kenyon, Eddie Jackson, Jenny Ratcliffe, Chris Thomas, James Robinson, Rachel Kelly, Si Cobley and Sarah Meyers after saying a farewell to a trusted member of the section Martin Strauss who decided it was time to hang up his whistle and take to the sidelines as a faithful supporter.
November saw the intake of new faces following Liverpool Sefton Hockey Club hosting the first of a newly designed umpire course for Level 1 Umpires. This course saw many juniors, seniors and parents alike join forces to expand a growing team along with some local clubs attending and contacts created. Liverpool Sefton Hockey Club has welcomed Rob Thomas, Nick Hemus, Kenny Cook, Alex Price, Kara McDougall, Sara McDougall, Emily Anson, Orla Cronin, Izzy Coleman, Katie Murphy and Alex Pearson who have all become Level 1 non assessed umpires.
A busy season ensured that the hockey section would require as much support from the umpire section requiring some serious organisation due to promotion and distances travelled by 7 teams playing across the North West, Cheshire and North Wales regions. This year saw the set up of the first Umpire Spreadsheet that mapped out all the games, locations and times etc that was distributed to all Level 1 Umpires (assessed) and above. This was completed for the season on the whole and returned before being coordinated to share the games between a vast team of player umpires. This allowed the work to be shared evenly between the team and also ensured that the teams interacted with new faces bringing a social aspect to the section and ensuring that the responsibilities were not left to one or two regular faces.
Various contacts were made externally with other clubs and umpires that built up an external umpire support branch. Liverpool Sefton HC would like to thank in particular Carl Woods, Lucy Mulliss, Claire Scarisbrick, Graham, Jacquie Simpson, Alice, Justin and Becky who ensured that in house umpires were not exhausted of their skills on a weekly basis. Other clubs have been supported through the new allocation system which has built Liverpool Sefton’s Umpire Team as a stronghold in the local area.
With new faces added to the Umpire Team the hope for the future is to develop these non assessed umpires and develop our young umpires to enable them to take their games from strength to strength both as player and umpire. With support from Liverpool Sefton Hockey Club’s very own Level 3 Umpire Jenny Ratcliffe, to both mentor and assist with practice and development, the team hope to go from strength to strength and build up strong section of Umpires to assist the Hockey Club in their development.
Finally, I would like to thank each and every umpire for their help, support, communication and most of all skills on the pitch throughout the season. Enjoy the summer break. See you all in the new season!
Before the start of the season Rachel Kelly and Susie MacFarlane ran the first Back to Hockey course. It attracted 15 women and 10 of these have continued to play ensuring the success of the Women’s 5th team. There were a few recruits from a similar Men’s Return to Hockey run by James Robinson.
Ped Maybury and Bill Chambers met in June 2014 and discussed several initiatives designed to increase playing membership.
A bid for Sportivate funding led to courses for youngsters from ESLA and later in the year Liverpool College. As of yet this has not yielded recruits to the adult part of the club.
Youngsters who had been introduced to hockey through Jean Arnold’s Friday and Saturday classes played increasingly for a wide range of Women’s teams and the lower Men’s team. They were a great asset.
Ped wrote to all clubs in the UK and Ireland with a view to picking up those members who move to Liverpool for work, study etc. We have at least one recruit via this route – Gerry Killough. Bill wrote to a number of the larger employers on Merseyside (Universities and Health Authorities and commercial and industrial and service companies but with less success.
We discussed the ongoing challenge regarding picking up university students and real results will only come via this route if the Men’s 1s are playing a division or two above the Liverpool Uni 1s and are thus attractive to potential players. Martin Tsang is well known at JMU and we should task him to recruit Freshers and existing players. James Skinkis has also been invaluable in attracting LJMU students (although now LJMU is setting up a Saturday League team less may wish to play for Sefton. At the University of Liverpool a number of people such as Ross Kelly and Ben Green have helped attract new players through personal recommendations. There is less potential to recruit top level players from Hope but Kat Jade has done significant work there to ensure interested parties are guided to the club.
The Facebook group monitored by Ped, Susie MacFarlane and Will Chambers has been a huge success this year – and has attracted 50+ new members (as well as plenty of fake profiles). A screening of the Facebook group may be required at a future committee meeting.
Word of mouth has continued to produce new members and I believe that players are all actively looking for new additions. The Facebook group has been a successful focal point for these recruits and has been a key way of settling them in, allowing them access to required info and has maintained contact with them.
In total there are over 70 new playing members (38 men and 39 women) this season – which prompts the question as to how reliable and committed members we are as we should have 170+ members now and playing each week leading to no shortages.
The recent years have really boosted the ladies 3s-5s and we need to focus on sourcing players for Men’s 1s and Women’s 1s. New player are essential in these 2 teams if the women are to become a permanent fixture in the national league as they used to be, and if the men are to take any of the 3 steps towards the national league.
Let’s all remember that new players are the life blood of the club.