In the build up to this weekends Varsity competition, writer, Will Scott, interviews Southampton Men’s Hockey Club Captain, Harry Roberts, to get his views on the biggest fixture for Team Southampton this year.
How has each team fared so far this season?
With 5 teams competing every week, we always have ups and downs in a season but none of the teams are facing relegation whilst the mighty 3s are close to promotion in both Hampshire and BUCs with the 1s, 2s and 4s not far behind and setting themselves up for strong promotion fights next season.
Has the club lived up to expectations?
Something we wanted to focus on as a club this year was being more inclusive across teams; a feat we succeeded with last week’s support base of 20 rangers travelling to Cardiff to support the 1s in their semi-final cup tie. There has never been a better atmosphere in the club and I truly believe this is beginning to show in our results as the teams have grown ever more successful throughout the season.
Having experienced last year, can you tell me what it’s like to compete in Varsity?
Personally I have never managed to make it far enough into a season without being injured to play Varsity. However, even from the side-line, you can tell there is no other sporting event like it for Wessex. It is the pinnacle of a player’s career, with outstanding performances from the players and the sea of green in full voice. There is no way to match the feeling of excitement of 100 Wessex Knights in full rendition of ‘Wessex Walk on Water’ as a goal slides in between the legs of the Pompey keeper.
Do you know much about how Portsmouth have fared this year?
We love to do a bit of spying on the oppo before the games so we know Pompey 1s have had a solid season in the same league as our Wessex 1s, but we have a few tricks up our sleeves to keep them at bay.
Do the team do anything different to prepare for varsity?
It’s very easy to get carried away with Varsity being such a big event but it’s important to remember that it’s still a game of hockey. The routine is very much the same as usual, with the addition of a few inspirational words from me and the respective Captains the day before the event.
Is there any specific way the teams will look to play?
Each team has its own winning style and we won’t be changing anything major before the games. Until of course we’re 5-0 up, at which point we might take the Captain off and start funnelling him some wine.
Are you confident that all three teams will win? And are you brave enough to give any score predictions?
I have every confidence in all my teams. They know they’re going to go out there and smash these teams and send them home with their tails between their legs. I’ll go out on a limb and say 1s will win 3-2, 2s 2-0 and the mighty 3s finishing off in style with a 5-0 win with a cheeky Fareed Anees hatrick.
Finally, are there any players that we should keep an eye out for on the day?
The ones to watch are Chis ‘Ice Gem’ Spain in the 1s who has recently seen a turn of form that will see him tearing up the pitch this Sunday. James ‘Marine’ Oliver (you can’t miss him) or Angus ‘Goose’ Hartley from the 2s, not for their hockey abilities, but for the inevitable angry outbursts you’ll be able to hear from the side line. Finally, Luke ‘Big Willy’ Witts from the Mighty 3s for the daring back post runs and the inevitable subbing off after 10 mins after he injures himself.