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Blend of youth and experience guides Cambridge City to England Hockey, Conference East title

Cambridge City captain Redvers Wilbur.
Cambridge City captain Redvers Wilbur.

Redvers Wilbur has hailed the balance of youth and experience as Cambridge City were crowned champions of the England Hockey, Conference East.

The early culmination of the season, because of the coronavirus pandemic, meant there was one game remaining, with City in top spot on goal difference from Wapping.

After a meeting of the England Hockey Board, it confirmed how the season would be concluded and that means City will be promoted to Division One.

The success is the result of a thrilling second half of the season for City, with the young team gelling to pass Wapping at the summit.

“Given the context of bouncing back from a tough season last year we are delighted,” said Wilbur, who is in his first season as captain.

“These things don’t happen by accident and we owe a lot of it to the professionalism and dedication of our magnificent coaching team.

“A few senior players also deserve a mention for their extraordinary contributions over the years, none more so than Ross Hayward and Euan Gilmour.

“The real success of the season has had much to do with how well so many of our new and returning juniors have stepped up to become key players in their own right; all of them deserve a mention, but it would be remiss of me not to highlight Nat Farrant and Eddie Harper.

“A final thank you to the club for its superb administration behind the scenes and a pledge that we will be back ready and eager for next season.”

It was expected to be a transition season for City, with a few experienced players leaving.

Juniors Ben Pearson, James Pitchford and Eliot Dupuis progressed into the side, while teenager Eddie Harper was in his third season in the first team and was named in the Great Britain Elite Player Development Programme squad.

The performances improved week on week and a strong indoor season saw City win the title for a second year in a row.

That momentum carried on with the resumption of the campaign after the winter break, and goal difference was telling, helped by player-coach Gareth Andrew’s tally of 18 and Euan Gilmour’s 15, as they had an advantage of five over Wapping.

Cambridge City player-coach Gareth Andrew.
Cambridge City player-coach Gareth Andrew.

“We are delighted to have been given the news of promotion to Division One as champions of Conference East,” said assistant coach Joshua Peterson.

“It has been a long, demanding season which we had to battle back at the midway point to take control.

“England Hockey had a tough job to get the best solution for the sport and its leagues and I fully appreciate how hard that is as there are teams on the mens and ladies sides that may feel hard done by.

“My commiserations go out to all of them and wish them the best next season.

“From our side I would like to thank the club, sponsors and all involved that helped us to achieve the success we had this season. Myself and Gareth are looking forward to the challenge of pushing the squad on further again next season.”

It means that both of the club’s first teams will be in England Hockey’s Division One, while they have a thriving junior section and 14 senior teams.

City president Tim Ireland added: “This is the icing on the cake for what has been a fabulous season for Cambridge City.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see how many players in the men’s and ladies’ first teams have come through our junior club.”

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