Five months after our incredible tour to South Africa, the 1st XI squad took a trip to Norwich, where we would spend two tough days preparing for the upcoming season.

With ten players making their debut, nobody really knew what to expect, and the best way to find out was to throw us in the deep end against Merchant Taylors’ School. We slowly grew into the game as we started to blow away the Christmas cobwebs and began playing some stylish free flowing hockey. As a result, we created several chances to break the deadlock. However, this wasn’t to be and payed the price as Taylor’s became the winner with five minutes left to play. Despite this, we clearly showed potential and this became more obvious as we completely dismantled Ashford School in the next match. Toby Baldwin bagging a brace. A great first day was rewarded with a “team bonding” session at the local bowling alley, which became very competitive. Team Thorogood came out on top beating Team Giles and Bensom.

The next morning, we played against St Albans School. Despite the tough start, we turned it around in the second half and some beautiful hockey allowed Ashley Sewel to score twice as we brought home our second win. Unfortunately, we were simply outclassed in our final game by a very strong Framlingham College, this exposed several areas to work on before our first game. This should not take away from the potential and talent this new side has shown, boding well for this season and the future of Eltham hockey.

Report written by: Upper Sixth Form student, Gabriel Downer