Loughborough Hockey secure promotion to the top flight
After a whirlwind weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Loughborough Students Men’s 1st XI secured promotion to England Hockey’s top league.
Returning to the Premier League after a two year absence, the largely student team won two of their three play-off matches to secure promotion.
Starting with a 3-0 win over Cardiff Met, Loughborough, who topped the Conference North, headed south for their deciding double-header full of confidence.
Taking on Richmond on Saturday 16th April, the Jerome Goudie coached side put on a hockey masterclass, as they swept aside their opponents 5-0. That all but clinched promotion, but a good result against Canterbury the next day was still important.
Back in their famous purple shirts for their final game of the season, Loughborough faced a quality outfit in Premier League Canterbury, who were hoping to avoid the drop.
Going behind after nine minutes, Loughborough fought back to go in at half-time with the score at 1-1 thanks to a trademark Luke Taylor penalty corner. A beautiful backhand from Luke Cornish put the students in front, but Canterbury were quick to level things up.
With 10 minutes to go Canterbury edged in front, before adding another in the dying minutes as Loughborough pushed forward, meaning the Premier League side secured a 4-2 victory.
With that Canterbury remain in the Premier League for another season, but will be joined by Loughborough Students.
Reflecting on promotion, Luke Taylor said:
"We'll start pre-season in August, we want to put the work in to make sure we're not one of those teams that comes up then goes straight back down. We want to put in a good performance, and maybe even push for the top four. But we're going to celebrate first, as it's been a tough season!"
Men’s Performance Coach Jerome Goudie added:
"We went into the England Hockey Promotion Play-offs off the back of a great season in both BUCS and in the Conference. After a nervy start against Cardiff we began to play more positive hockey, taking that into the next game against Richmond and showing the form exhibited throughout the year, building up a healthy goal difference going into the final match. We came up against an experienced and determined Canterbury team needing the win to retain their Premier League status, just being edged out in the last 10 minutes of a gruelling encounter, but knowing that we would top the group and be playing top flight hockey next season.
“It has been a fantastic reward for the effort the lads have shown throughout the year. I have been really proud of the work from the whole squad as well as the management, administration and support team at Loughborough University who have enabled this to be achieved. We know it will be a tough challenge next year but are looking forward to competing alongside the best teams in England next year.”