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28 January 2008 PR 08/10

Loughborough Students reclaim National Indoor Hockey crown and a place in Europe

Loughborough Students have reclaimed hockey’s National Indoor title for the first time since the competition moved to Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA) three years ago.

The Loughborough men’s side finally broke the curse of the NIA by defeating 2006 winners East Grinstead 5-4 in a thrilling final, earning a spot in next season’s EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions league.

The road to the final was tense and it took a massive effort from Loughborough’s men in the semi-finals to pull back a 4-1 deficit at half-time against Old Loughtonians. The Students rallied to end the game 6-5 courtesy of scores from David Appleton (F 13, PC 22), Tim Benford (F 26), John Jackson (F 27), Marc Edwards (F 29) and Richard Smith (PC 35).

In the final, an early run of goals from Jackson (F 5), Benford (F 6) and Edwards (F 8) saw Loughborough jump to a 3-0 lead after just eight minutes, but a determined East Grinstead side clawed back the deficit to raise the scoreline to 3-2 at half time.

They then levelled just after the interval, but Loughborough hit back through Appleton and earned a two goal cushion when Smith made no mistake from the spot. With eight minutes left on the clock, Scott Ashdown gave East Grinstead some hope as he scored their fourth – and his second of the game – but the team from Sussex could not get the equaliser and as the clock counted down, the Students celebrated with their fourth title in six years.

Loughborough Men’s Hockey Coach David Ralph was pleased with his young team’s performance.

“I’m delighted and really proud of what the lads have achieved,” he said. “The team has changed so much over the last couple of years that only two of the players in Birmingham had been involved the last time we won the Championships.

“East Grinstead have become the strongest team in the tournament over the last few years and were definitely the team to beat. We haven’t beaten them for at least three games, but we’d adapted our tactics from playing them in the league and that paid off.

“The full squad of 12 was involved in both games and our win was thanks to the boys’ ability to keep the level of play up for the full 40 minutes. Going 3-0 up early on helped us believe we could beat them and we managed to hold them off to the final whistle.

“People often talk about our three wins in a row a few years ago, but I asked the team to go out and make their own history and they did just that.”

-ENDS-

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend, Sports PR Officer, Loughborough University,
T: 01509 228686, E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  1. Loughborough Students previously held the National Indoor Men’s title between 2003 and 2005 when the finals were played at indoor hockey’s former home of Crystal Palace.

  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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