After securing promotion I managed to catch up pitch-side with Tom Bryant, First team captain, Coach and Mastermind of a memorable campaign for a Q&A.
Many congratulations Tom! For those of us who have not experienced promotion for a while, could you remind us what it feels like?
It’s very rewarding to know that all the hard work we’ve put in over the season and pre-season has paid off and as a squad we’ve been able to achieve our aim. It feels just great, I recommend it.
I know you wanted to finish top and it all came down to the penultimate game against Cardiff University, that must have been an exciting game?
Yes, despite us coming out on the wrong side of a 1-0 result the match was very competitive and enjoyable. The lads really put a shift against a very strong Cardiff Uni 2s side who have the facility to train multiple times a week with their Premiership 1st team.
The team narrowly missed out on promotion last year. What do you think were the key differences this year that made the difference?
This year we have built on what the squad learnt from last year. We have dedicated ourselves to becoming fitter and creating more of a team spirit within our huge performance squad. Missing out on promotion last year gave us the drive and determination to commit to our matches and put 100% in right to the end!
There was a bit of a post-Christmas “wobble” with poor results against Ross-On-Wye and Hereford, looking back now, why do you think that happened?
There was a post-Christmas wobble which I had feared as historically this has been detrimental to our results. Luckily, we quickly addressed what we needed to change which got us back on board with our promotion campaign. There were a few weeks where commitment faded, not just within our squad, but within the rest of the club which had a significant impact on our team. A club is only as good as its first team, and the first team is only as good as its club!
How do you think your squad has developed this year and is there anyone you’d particularly like to mention for their contribution, or was it a true ‘team endeavour’?
It was a true team endeavour! I would like to thank everyone from the 1st team training squad for their commitment, effort and dedication – through the good times and the bad! I would also like to thank the other Captains, especially Rob Ledger, who have been as flexible and accommodating as possible to give the 1st team priority. The team would also like to thank all of our supporters and sponsors this season including Danco PLC, 4Tech Ltd, Bryant Associates, PhysioElite, Hyperstate and some very generous club members!
Obviously with promotion comes new challenges in a stronger league. Have you started making plans for next year or for now are you just enjoying the accomplishment?
Our planning for next year started at the beginning of the season with Summer League, the pre-season opposition we played and our training scheme to acclimatise us as best we can to higher level hockey in preparation. For the time being we are taking some time to enjoy the moment before Summer League and our pre-season training starts again.
Team Photograph to follow....