In their last matches before the Christmas break, both sides are looking to finish the term strongly as they hope to progress into the latter stages of the England Hockey Cup. Due to the strength of the Birmingham teams last year, both sides have received byes until this stage of the cup this year, but neither plans to fall at the first hurdle. The will action start on Saturday at 12.30 as the L1 face Beeston, before Oxford Hawks are the visitors for the M1 game at 14.30. Ahead of the games we spoke to President, Tom Thorne, and W1 Wednesday captains, Catherine Ledesma and Lauren Hunt to hear their thoughts about to fixtures.
How are you and the team feeling ahead of your 4th round cup tie?
Tom: We’re really looking forward to finishing the first half on the season on a high and are confident we can get the win, having hit a recent run of form. The only slight issues could come from our availability issues. Our usual squad has been severely depleted and this is going to make a tough game even tougher.
“We are hopeful of a strong performance and that we can have a good run in this competition and get some silverware.” – Tom Thorne, President
Catherine: We’re really excited to get going in what is a different competition. The cup is always great fun and a good opportunity to play different teams that we wouldn’t normally play on a Wednesday or at a weekend.
How has the season gone so far and what are your aims for the year, especially in the cup?
Tom: With the league being restructured in both BUCS and National League, this has seen the level of competition raised. After a tough start we’ve started to find our feet, putting together good performances in BUCS and National league which are beginning to turn into results! We are looking to finish strongly in both and push for top 4 in our weekend and Wednesday leagues. Our aim for the cup is to bring through some new players for next season as there will be lots of changes over the next 12 months, so it’s a good opportunity to blood some players. With this being our first cup game we are hopeful of a strong performance and that we can have a good run in this competition and get some silverware.
Lauren: We have made really big progressions as a team in both BUCS and the Saturday league so are hopeful of success across all three fronts this season. Obviously we would love to win the cup, but what is most important for us is to make gains as a team by facing and hopefully beating different opponents who play with new and different playing styles. From a BUCS perspective, we would like to go one better than we did last year and bring home the gold medal.
“We’re at our best when we do the basics well and play with composure.” – Catherine Ledesma, W1 Wednesday captain
What do you expect from your opponents (Oxford Hawks/ Beeston), what are their strengths and where do you think you can cause them issues?
Tom: Oxford Hawks are a team we don’t play that regularly, which is part of the beauty of the cup, but this does mean they are a bit of an unknown. We faced them in preseason and they did give us a tough game, but hopefully we can take confidence from our recent performances.
Catherine: Beeston are a good side who we have already played twice this season; winning one and losing one. They have several quick players who will be threats in and around the D, but our defence this year has been very good at dealing with pressure. Attacking wise, when we played them before we were at our best when we did the basics well and played with composure. We hope to do this again on Saturday.
Finally, how excited are you for the game this weekend?
Tom: We are all very excited for the game and as always, a home crowd always helps us perform. This year the atmosphere has been great with our Wednesday crowds and as this is a competition that we have the potential to do very well in, the more support we can get on Saturday, the better!
Lauren: We can’t wait and we’re even more excited that it is a game being played at home. It’s always great having home support and this season we have done well at home because of it. It would be brilliant to have a big crowd and really motivate the team.
If you are free this Saturday, be sure to come down and support Birmingham in the double header on the Bournbrook pitches in the 4th Round of England Hockey cup Tier 1;
12.30 L1 v Beeston
14.30 M1 v Oxford Hawks