HOCKEY: Derby day heralding the start of a new campaign
THE NEW Davis Wood League season kicks off with a local derby as Chippenham host Devizes in the Central One division this weekend.
Chippenham have been switched from the De Cymru & the Marches One division, where they secured fifth place last season, and skipper Andy Edwards is looking forward to a reduced travel schedule for his side.
“It was a bit difficult having to travel to Wales every other week last season so we’re looking forward to being in a more local league,” said Edwards.
“We’ve moved across to an equivalent league and we’re hoping to try and have a more settled side this year if we can.
“A lot of junior players have moved up to the first team and they’ll be a part of the team now.
“We’ve never really played Devizes, apart from in the county competition, so starting with a local derby will be a new experience for us.”
Devizes secured promotion by finishing runners up in Central Two last season and coach Ollie Smith is hoping consistency can breed success this term.
“We’ve got pretty much the same group that were with us last season, so hopefully they can do well again,” he said.
“It’s a young group of players that we’ve got in the team but they’re a year older and year wiser. We’ll be taking one game at a time and seeing how we get on.”
Marlborough are eyeing a season of consolidation following their relegation from the second tier.
Marlborough, who have had their home playing surface relaid this summer, finished bottom of the Championship and will ply their trade in Conference North.
“After relegation last season, we are hoping to consolidate in a very tough division,” said captain Rich Holman.
“With a few players leaving for university it is a good opportunity to blood some younger players. We don't have the luxury of a local university or a big town to bring in players, so we rely on our fantastic junior section.”
Wootton Bassett have moved to East Central One and start at home to Team Bath Buccaneers.
- CHIPPENHAM ladies captain Clare Widger doesn’t see any reason why her side can’t secure a top-three finish in Premier Division 2A of the West Clubs Women’s Hockey League this season.
Chippenham kicked off their campaign a week earlier than many of their league rivals, Natalie Motto and Holly Sampson grabbing the goals in a 2-0 victory over Newent last weekend.
Widger’s side were fifth last season but she said: “This is the highest level that we’ve ever been at and finishing fifth was a good achievement but we’d like to do even better this year.’’
Marlborough’s first team are competing in the North Division after their unbeaten march to the Wessex Division One title last season, with the seconds in the same division after their Wessex Division Two title win.
First team skipper Becki Marnane said: “After a hard battle for promotion last season, our aim will be to jostle for a safe position.’’ Marlborough’s new third team start their maiden campaign in Wessex Division Three with a trip to Fry’s 3 whilst Devizes host North Wilts in Wessex Division One.
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