EUMHC pictured at the Premier playoffs
EUMHC earn spot in top flight England Hockey Premier Division
Over 2 weekends of crucial fixtures in a fight for promotion EUMHC held strong to secure a place in the England Hockey Premier Division for the 2018-2019 season. Despite losing their opening game to University of Nottingham, Exeter fought back to finish with 2 consecutive wins against Sevenoaks and Oxsted to take 1 of next seasons Premier Division spots.
Having had 14 wins, 2 draws and just 2 losses in an 18 fixture competition format in the Western Conference division to take the league title and earn a spot in the Premier Division play offs, Exeter have performed consistently throughout the season against some quality opposition and conceded the fewest goals of any side. Exeter’s Sports Scholar and BSc Mathematics with Finance student Sam Hooper finished the league as top goal scorer and also replicated this feat over the Premier playoffs fixtures. Sports Scholars Will Carter-Keall (1st team captain and BSc Economics student) and Dan Jackson (MEng Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Experience) also featured in the England Hockey team of the season. In the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competition EUMHC once again took top spot in their league (BUCS Premier South) and reached the BUCS Championship semi-final having previously won the title in 2012 and finished as silver medallists in 2016.
In their first Premier playoffs fixture Exeter faced University of Nottingham in a rematch of this year’s BUCS Championship quarter final where Exeter came out on top with a 3-0 victory. Unfortunately Exeter couldn’t replicate this and despite scoring from a well worked penalty corner in the 1st half to go into half time with a 1 goal advantage, Nottingham equalised early in the 2nd half and scored again in the 54th minute to hang on for the win. With everything to do in the remaining 2 games Exeter faced Sevenoaks at University of Birmingham and got off to a dream start with Ed Matts scoring in the opening minutes. Sevenoaks quickly got one back to make it 1-1 and took the lead 2-1 heading into the half time break courtesy of a penalty corner. Needing a big 2nd half Exeter didn’t disappoint and it was goals galore with Exeter emerging as 6-3 winners including goals from Conor Caplan (BSC Economics), Tom Watson (MSc International Management) and GB U21 player Duncan Scott (BSc Geography).
Brimming with confidence from the previous days result Exeter headed into their final match of the 2017-2018 season against Oxsted. With all teams on 3 points promotion rights came down to the final games on the final day. Exeter were 1st on the scoreboard with Sam Hooper scoring from the 3rd penalty corner. Oxsted equalised in the 2nd half but Sam Hooper struck again to make the score 2-1 and hand Exeter the prize of England Hockey Premier Division status next season. By securing promotion into the Premier Division EUMHC become the only University competing in the highest league in the country, as one of the top 10 club sides in England. University of Exeter alumni are currently well represented across the England Hockey National League divisions with 21 Exeter graduates featuring in various National League club sides. Sevenoaks captain and former EUMHC player Tim Warrington (LLB Law 2004-2007 and MA International Affairs 2007-2009) was among 5 Exeter Alumni represented in the Premier Division playoff fixtures.
With the confirmation that EUMHC have secured Premier Division status for 2018-2019 EUMHC 1st team coach Simon Tyson commented “Promotion to the Premier Division caps a fantastic season for the team that has also included winning the England Hockey Western Conference and the BUCS Premier South leagues. These successes are testament to the effort and attitude of the squad, and indeed the entire Club, over this and previous seasons. Next season will be a significant step up as we line up against Olympians and senior internationals on a weekly basis, including a number of Exeter alumni, but it’s a challenge that we look forward to”.
Director of Sport Alison Davidson added “To have men’s hockey as one of our 9 focus sports represented in the England Hockey Premier Division next season is fantastic for the University Hockey programme and adds to our performance hockey offer for prospective students. Congratulations to the current squad on their results this year and I look forward to following their progress over the coming season”.
Date: 1 May 2018