As part of the Wessex Scene’s series of previews before this year’s Varsity competition, Men’s hockey captain Kishan Patel answered a few questions ahead of the big day on March 9th.
How has this season gone so far for you as a team?
The season has been tough but we have put in 100% effort individually and as a team and put in some great performances. Having lost half our starting line from last season we knew we had to rebuild and the people that have stepped in have done a great job. In our Saturday league, we won the division last season and hence got promoted and are now sitting in a position where we can potentially get promoted again this season. In BUCS, we are fighting for survival in Western 1A, however the performances we have put in, and considering the tight nature and high level of the other teams in the league our position, doesn’t reflect the way we’ve played, with some very close games against the top teams in the league.
What would you say has been the highlight and where do you personally need to improve?
The highlight of our season so far is our run in the BUCS trophy. Had a bye in the first round then beat Portsmouth Uni 3-1 in the second round away from home in dreadful weather conditions and just recently beat St Mary’s Uni 5-4 in the quarter finals! We were 4-1 down at half time and after a big team talk the boys brought it back and won 5-4 to put us through to the semi-finals playing Loughborough 2nds away on 19th March. It’s the best cup run that I am aware of since I have been at uni and am excited at the prospect of playing a highly creditable hockey side.
What was last year’s Varsity like to compete in?
AMAZING! That would be the word to describe last year’s Varsity experience. One of the best games of hockey I have played in all my years. In the end we won 5-4 and it was an awesome performance from everyone after falling 2 goals behind in quick time. We brought the game back into our hands to set up a tense finish in front of a big following of support. Game was poised at 4-4 and we scored with minutes to spare to earn ourselves a well deserved victory! It made it an even sweeter victory having won away from home. This game will last in my memory for years to come and I hope Varsity 2014 lives up to this and ends up with another win for Team Southampton in both the hockey and overall.
How’s preparation going for the big event?
Preparation is going really well. At the moment we’re on a great run of form having won some very big games in our Saturday league. The team are all excited and cannot wait for the prospect of another win in Varsity. We know Pompey will be up for it as well as we beat them in the BUCS trophy but we will match them and go that one bit further to ensure we do our bit and get a victory. Over the next week places will be up for grabs to make the team but I ensure we’ll have a squad of 16 players ready to perform in front of a big home crowd at Wide Lane. Come Sunday 9th March, we will be fully ready for whatever we come up against, and considering the way we have been playing in these last few weeks, there is no reason why we can’t live up to our performance last year!
How confident are you of victory this year?
I am very confident for victory this year. I feel we’ve overcome our slow start to the season and everyone is gelling together well as a team and there is a great vibe around the dressing room. Everyone is up for Varsity 2014 and we would like to ask anyone that is around to come down and support and get behind Team Southampton. Bring down your banners, bangers, vuvuzelas, airhorns, flags and anything else that will get behind and motivate teams to go that extra bit further. More support = More success!