SOHC ladies’ 1st XI seeking to make the current season one that will set them up for the future

The Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club ladies 1st XI who head into the festive break still sporting a 1

The Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club ladies 1st XI who head into the festive break still sporting a 100 per cent record in their 2019/20 league campaign.Picture SOHC - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club (SOHC) ladies’ 1st XI are on their way to what could yet be a double winning season.

The ladies head into tomorrow's away game at Taunton Vale III heading the Sedgemoor Division One table by eight points and they will be crowned divisional champions if they win at Taunton Vale and second placed ECVH fail to win their match at third placed Exe III.

SOHC ladies' 1st XI have won all 15 league games they have played so far scoring a whopping 116 goals and conceding just 11.

Captain Hannah Peters and vice-captain Katie Dean have overseen this sensational season to date and we caught up with the pair for a question and answer session.

First up, we asked the pair 'what has been the key to the team's success this season?'

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The response: 'This season we have benefited from being able to field a consistent team from week to week and that has helped us to build and develop throughout the season.

'We have also been lucky to play some of the younger players in our ladies' section in games where we have been short on players and these youngsters have really developed and engaged with the way we play.

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'It has not happened overnight! We have been building on our team foundation for a while, but this season we have benefited from an injection of experienced new players and returning players to really consolidate our team.

'Each member of the team has been keen to develop our game and aim for a higher league to challenge ourselves.'

Are there any key areas of the team or indeed individuals who make it all click?

The response: 'Everyone knows their responsibility within the position they are playing to make up the team.

'We all aim to encourage each other and listen to each other's ideas, especially during half time talks where we are always looking to improve our game in the second half directly. 'Our teammates are all talented, flexible players, always happy to play in different positions during weeks where we have less available to play or due to injury, making the job of captain and vice-captain's life easier!'

Next up we asked about the secrets behind the regular coaching sessions and the response was: 'Paul Newman runs our one-hour training session each Wednesday evening, working alongside Karen Dutton who also spends one-on-one time with our goalkeepers.

'There is always something for us to work on as individuals and as a team unit.

'We have regular dialogue with Paul and often it's the case that we will ask him to work on something that has come out of a previous match so we are ready for when that situation comes up again. We also regularly run ideas past Paul on things like formation changes, set plays and selection possibilities.

How does this season stand when set alongside previous campaigns?

The response: 'We have previously had seasons where we have played solidly as a team and felt we have done well, but we haven't always been as strong as a unit and achieved such a goal difference as we have this season game on game!

'It has really made us bond more as a team, and hopefully helped to develop the ladies' section of the club.'

What has been the 'best team performance' so far this campaign?

The response: There have been some great team performances this season, but one of the standout games for us was against Exe 3s during the first half of the season.

'They've always been a strong team, and having previously been in the league above, we knew what we were up against. Having had an easy start to the season, this was the first real test for us, allowing us to benchmark where we were.

'We were unfortunately missing a number of core players and as predicted the game was hard fought. With one minute left the scores were tied at 3-3, but thankfully for us, star striker Taryn Murray slid in, to score the winner, with a matter of seconds left on the clock to see us to a 4-3 win!'

As with all sporting teams, sponsors play a huge role and it's no different for the SOHC ladies.

The captain and vice-captain say: 'As a club [SOHC], we have been fortunate to receive funding from the Keith Owen Fund, Dukes, Aviva Community Fund, Ottery Parish Council and the Tesco Bags for Help scheme. 'Sustaining eight adult teams and six junior teams can be tough, so this funding has been great for the club and we're really grateful for the support.

'It has helped to purchase new equipment and training aids as well as help fund coaching. 'The benefits have been shared across both the senior and junior sections.' We then turned our attention to asking - what next?

The response: 'It is important that we continue to build on what we have developed to date and indeed continue to work towards maintaining the standards we will need to enable us to stay in the higher leagues and develop further.

'Promotion isn't yet guaranteed, we know we're not there yet so we're keeping ourselves grounded and taking each game as it comes.

'Our key aim, if we do indeed, get promoted, is to sustain ourselves in the league above.

'We have played in the next league up before and so are well aware of just how tough it can be. So many teams seem to 'yo-yo' between the league above and the one we are currently in and so a big element of 'what next' is making sure we do not become one of the afore mentioned 'yo-yo' teams!

'We'd love to continue to grow as a team. Sadly, we are losing some players at the end of the season, so we're looking forward to recruiting some new players as well as bringing up some of the club's talented youngsters.

'Ultimately, we're really looking forward to stepping up to the challenge and are really excited to see where we can go.'

And the final word to Hannah and Katie who rounded things off saying: 'The pair of us would certainly like to thank the supporters of the club, especially the other ladies' teams for supporting us with players when we have been short.

'This has been hugely appreciated through the run up to the Devon Plate rounds which several youngsters from our club have performed really well, leading us to the finals on March 25.'

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