The younger OV 1st XI have regularly entered HA national competitions in the last ten years but this is a new adventure for their Vets.
They have been drawn against West Gloucester Vets in the first round, from a strong club based in Bristol.Although technically a home fixture, travel costs have meant that the West Gloucester team have declined to travel, as permitted under the HA regulations, so the game is to be played in Southampton on Sunday afternoon.The OV squad, though, is a strong one with Mike Labey making a welcome return as goalkeeper.
The defence is solid, with Matthew Sutton and Dominic Pallot in particular being extremely cool under pressure.
In midfield Mike Tait and the high-scoring Richard Le Lièvre are combining well and goals can come from a variety of sources.
West Glos are likely to be tough opponents but as a first foray at national level OVs are staying confident and upbeat about their chancesOV Vets: Mike Labey, Richard Sugden, Ian Taylor, Andrew Arthur, Dominic Pallot, Matthew Sutton, Mike Tait, Peter Harris, Richard Le Lièvre, Mick Millar, Tim Herbert ( capt) and Nigel de Carteret.Jersey Hockey Club are fielding a blend of youth and experience in their squad which flies out to to play the City of Bath Hockey Club on Sunday.
With the pace of Rob Hurry up front and the goal-scoring ability of Malcolm Banahan featuring again, it will be interesting to see how they progress in the first round.
Bath will be no pushover as they currently run five men’s and several ladies’ sides so they have the strength in depth to challenge JHC all the way.JHC Vets: Tim.Pollard (GK), Ralph Nichols, Simon Harrison-White, David Ballingall, Peter Taylor, Conrad Evans, Richard De Figueiredo, Mike.Le Poidevin, Nick Taylor (capt), Rob Hurry, Malcolm Banahan.