The women this year were fiercely wanting a win, having lost 8-0 last year vs UCL at the Lee Valley Tennis and Hockey Centre. As soon as the pushback started the game, the Ladies were dominant, with their defence stopping any UCL attack, and countering powerfully once they gained possession. KCL’s first goal came swiftly, having flown past UCL’s defence with sweet dribbling and precision passing. More goals followed, and UCL had very few chances on our front, their shots proving no problem for our keeper. Another two goals for our ladies and the opposition were looking demoralised by their performance. A quick 10mins for halftime and the opportunity for large quantities of liquid courage meant that the energy in the stands kept growing (although UCL’s rafters seemed pretty lacklustre). In the second half KCL’s Ladies kept dominating the game and were owning UCL in the opposition half; nothing could stop the women in red. A final goal late in the second half secured the game for King’s, and proved that the ladies could come back from an 8-0 loss last year stronger than ever.
Gower set the tempo from the get-go, almost scoring in their first drive towards the goal. The game began with much back and forth movement between the two teams, as if this was Ping Pong instead of Hockey. UCL’s male team proved a strong fight for KCL’s team, and scored early on with a flimsy goal which somehow managed to end up in the back of our net. King’s began to look startled and conceded a couple of short corners due to UCL’s strong attacks and perfect passing, and managed to convert one of them with a nice shot on goal slotting the ball in the bottom left corner, out of the reach of our keeper. At half time UCL’s crowd were the loudest, proving they did have a voice after all after being quiet during the Women’s game.
Another period of back and forth movement started the second half of the second game of the night, but UCL seemed to have the advantage. Our men were struggling to find each other in passing and kept losing possession. The atmosphere in the stadium was tense, as the Strand faithful knew they had enough time to create a comeback and showed their aggressiveness. Unfortunately, this may have been turned on a bit too high, as KCL conceded a foul around the halfway line, which was quickly taken by UCL’s n°7, dribbling past two defenders and setting his teammate up for our opponent’s third goal. A drastic decision was taken by the King’s coaches in the last ten minutes, as our keeper was subbed off for an eleventh attacking player to maximise scoring opportunities, but this also left our goal wide open. A brilliant interception by UCL’s n°7 left him running down the field with his teammate to his right and only two KCL defenders against him. This was surely an easy open goal for UCL, but King’s’ n°3 gloriously stuck his hockey stick out to block the shot. Moments later the umpire whistled for full time and UCL had won.
I would like to congratulate both the KCL Women’s Hockey team and the UCL Men’s for their stellar performances, with both having clinched clean sheets and Varsity wins. Commiserations to the other two teams but they played well, and the crowd were happy with a draw between the two London unis.