Welcome to 2019! The East Leagues are back underway and all our teams are in action this weekend. Good luck everyone! No gags this week (Dry January).
The Nomads had a tricky start to 2019 with an away fixture against the strong Women’s Blues. They are sitting above the relegation zone but things are very tight at the middle-to-lower end of Division 1N, with just 5 points separating the bottom six. This weekend brings a huge home fixture against ninth place Ipswich – six points up for grabs!
The Squandies had a good record up to Christmas and reached fourth place in Division 3NW, although nine points separates them from the top three. They have a chance to close the gap, at home to second place Cambridge City tomorrow.
The Beds have had a remarkable run over the last few games, the only blemish a loss to top-of-the-league Saffron Walden just before the break. They are also up to fourth place and are very much in touch with the top three. They travel to second place Bury St Edmunds for an early morning six pointer.
The Women’s Blues are in formidable Saturday form with five wins from the last five games. They’re in a comfortable second place but need more wins to keep the pressure on unbeaten Dereham in the hunt for the Division 1N title. This week they’re away to Cambridge City.
Credit to the Wandies for sticking with frankly useless head-coach Kieran Gilmore: they’ve turned it around. Some crucial points in the run up to Christmas has seen them break into the top half of Division 1. They will want to keep the momentum with them and push for a higher finish but have a tough fixture this week against a Wapping side only kept off the top spot by goal difference.
The Men’s Blues had an early Christmas present when a draw between Cardiff and King’s College guaranteed the boys the BUCS South Premier B title with three games still to play. That lines up a play-off vs. Cardiff Met to go into South Premier A next season. Things are still wide open on a Saturday though, and some points against top-of-the-table Wapping (who only lost to the boys in the first half of the season) would be a very welcome start to the 2019 campaign.
Pub Golf this weekend. See last year’s preview for lots of funny stuff about Pub Golf (courtesy of Jean Staunton-Sykes). I know it’s exciting but there are 18 points to pick up first so let’s have 100% focus on that from now on.
The Squandies are sitting pretty in fourth place after a string of good results and will look to crack on this weekend against a struggling Ely City side. Ely’s an interesting one. It is built on the tallest hill in the Fens (a dizzying 26 m above sea level), which once formed an island (hence “Isle of Ely”) before William of Orange came over and sorted us out with his Dutch drainage skills. “Ely” is thought to derive from “Eels”, a reference to the aquatic snakes once abundant in the surrounding marshlands. Nasty. Catch the boys in the early fixture at Wilby.
The Women’s Blues performed well in a narrow loss to Oxford on Wednesday. Despite the disappointing result it was an even contest and has provided a tantalising preview to the third of March. This weekend the girls are on the road to Ipswich. Although it’s a long trip Ippy are down in the bottom half of Division 1N and the Blues will benefit from a trip to the Stag Café so we expect them to return with three points.
The Beds followed up their unprecedented 23-0 pumping of March Town with another three points last week. Believe it or not this week they play at team with fewer points than March Town: bottom of the table Haverhill Ladies. The top places in Division 3NW are within reach so let’s hope for no slip ups and another big three points for the girls.
The Men’s Blues won again on Wednesday and now, thanks to a bizarre set of results elswhere, sit 12 points clear of second place after six games in South Prem B. Three points against mid-table Ipswich last weekend was also reassuring, and this week they face local rivals Cambridge City in an away match to be played at Willy Wilberforce Road. Things are tight at the top of East Prem A so three points are essential as ever in the push for promotion.
The Wandies picked up a huge three points last weekend and also avoided embarrassment against the Infrequents in Oxford mid-week. After a welcoming Wednesday spirits will be high as they head into a home six pointer against nearby Broxbourne this weekend as they look to climb further above the relegation zone. They’re on at 12:00 and as ever all support is appreciated.
The Nomads are on a tough run and it doesn’t get any easier this weekend against third place Norwich Dragons. The girls play in the prime slot at Wilby so get down to offer your support at 13:30.
If I told you there were six CUHC games at Wilby this weekend you would be forgiven for saying “No Way, José!” but you would be wrong because in fact there are six games involving CUHC at the Wilberforce Road ground tomorrow. To honour this special occassion I took the time to speak to each of our teams’ coaches in turn for some extra insight into the games.
A big win for the Wanderers on Wednesday against the University of Bye saw them through to the second round of the BUCS Hockey 2018-19 Midlands Conference Cup. Things aren’t looking so rosy on a Saturday though with no Ws left in the form guide. Beleaguered head coach Kieran Gilmore told me earlier: “When I go to the press conference before the game, in my mind the game has already started.” They have a chance to turn things around tomorrow with a six pointer at the bottom of the table as the boys travel to Cambridge City.
The Squandies are on a roll and also have a six point fixture at Wilby this week. They face Cam City’s veterinarians as they look to join the big boys at the top of Division 3NW. Asked to comment on the Squandies’ prolific scoring form but leaky defense, coach Jim “numero 13” Dickinson remarked: “It’s like having a blanket but it’s too small for the bed. You pull the blanket up to keep your chest warm and your feet stick out. I cannot buy a bigger blanket because the supermarket is closed. But the blanket is made of cashmere.” While I carefully consumed a beverage with my left hand and obeyed all other ‘rules’, Ed Sides added: “I have nothing, nothing to say. Nothing, nothing to say. Nothing to say, I have nothing to say. Nothing to say, I am so sorry, I have nothing to say.”
The Men’s Blues had a good week with wins against Chelmsford and Reading University leaving them in the promotion spots on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Tomorrow’s fixture against an up and coming Ipsiwch side, who will presumably benefit from a trip to the Stag Café en route, provides an opportunity to continue climbing the table as first and second place meet elsewhere. Coach Charlie Bannister wasn’t holding back when asked to explain the boys’ impressive start to the season. He said: “We have top players and, sorry if I’m arrogant, we have a top manager. Please do not call me arrogant because what I say is true. I’m European champion. I’m not one out of the bottle, I think I’m a special one.”
The Beds beat March Town 23-0 last week. 2 3 – 0. Twenty-three to nil. 20+3 with no reply. That is a goal every 3.04347826087 minutes. Wow. Speaking after the game, coach Lucia Corry was humble in victory, stating: “I have a problem, which is I’m getting better at everything related to my job since I started.” Her colleague Alicia Murphy added: “The moral of the story is not to listen to those who tell you not to play the violin but stick to the tambourine.” Spalding 2 will surely provide a sterner test tomorrow, sitting just three points and two places below the girls.
The Nomads have also had a tough run of it on a Saturday and will be desperate for points tomorrow. It won’t be easy as they have to travel to face a strong Cambridge City side. I sat down with coaches Matt Jervis and Ollie Duckers earlier and discussed issues surrounding selection for the club’s second team: “The style of how we play is very important. But it is omelettes and eggs. No eggs – no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.”
The Women’s Blues overturned a momentary dip in form last week with a comfortable win over St Neots. A relieved coach Darrell Cassidy said of the team: “We are a little horse. A horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump.” The girls face a struggling Ipswich – East Suffolk side tomorrow as they look to secure their position in the promotion spots of Division 1N. When asked if they had anything to fear from I-ES, Mr. Cassidy stuck with the ungulate theme: “You may as well put a cow in the middle of the pitch, walking. And then stop the game because there was a cow.”
As ever there are big games across the board for our teams this week.
The Beds picked up an important three points at home against Horncastle last week, and will hope to bring back three more on Saturday in a bid to move out of Division 3NW’s mid-table. They have a good chance: their opponents Peterborough sit four places below them and are yet to pick up a win this season. It is a notorious away trip for CUHC teams though so they will have to perform well. Look out for the nearby factories of the Covent Garden Food Co. – I’m sorry to break it to you but yes, those soups are made in East Anglia and not at the Royal Opera House as you may have previously assumed.
The Squandies haven’t lost in four games now, a run which has seen them climb to fouth place in Division 3NW. They face mid-table St Ives in the early slot at Wilby this weekend. Three points will be crucial as they aim to keep in touch with, and start putting some pressure on, the top three.
The Men’s Blues travel to Harleston this week for a third vs. fourth place six-pointer (so to speak, of course in reality only three points are available to the winning side). The possibility of running into Richard Hesketh on a detour to the Stag Café brings added excitement… The boys remain high on confidence, staying clear on top of their BUCS league with a good win against Exeter on Wednesday and bouyed by huge but unfortunately secret night out that evening. Well done to Fresh Prince (in all senses) Will Silver for his victorious performance.
A disappointing defeat at home to top-of-the-table Dereham last week saw the Women’s Blues lose their unbeaten Saturday record. They make the trip to Wisbech this week looking to get back to winning ways. The forecast is a bit iffy but a day out on sands at Wisbech is always fun (e.g. digging big holes and burying freshmen – Just remember to dig them up before setting off home).
The Wandies tough start to the season has continued as they dropped points to Upminster and Harleston in recent weeks, and rumours have begun to circulate regarding the status of beleaguered head coach Kieran Gilmore. Picking up three points at home to bizarrely named Crostyx, who currently languish at the bottom of Division 1, is surely essential. They’re in the prime slot at Wilby so get down and support the boys if you can.
The Nomads have had a couple of tricky weeks but have a chance to make progress in Division 1N on Saturday against Sudbury, who currently sit just two places above them. It’s another match at Wilby so why not make a day of it if you can.
It’s almost here (#imquiteexcited), it’s the day you’ve all been waiting for and there’s no doubt it’s going to be amazing. That’s right, it’s the day that the analysis of the profile picture likes is released.
Everyone will have seen by now the hype generated by the biggest coordinated media campaign in the University*. It’s been effective as well, with CUHC members accruing a considerable amount of the virtual social rep counters we call “Likes”, 9181 reacts in total. This is a little bit less than last year, but without the careful management of a webmaster (#OuEstJean), it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
What makes a profile picture good? According to Social Scientist Baz, it’s a complex combination of having a good looking game face, having a witty caption and a good filter. We couldn’t be bothered to qualitatively assess each picture though, so instead we just rate them based on results. The first, and most obvious, metric is absolute number of reactions. This years winner was Harry Leng, but not without some controversy. In much the same way Trump’s victory in the US election had Russians involved, Harry’s victory in the profile reactions table was helped in part by 15 angry reacts (presumably from people he has never met and knows nothing about, but happen to be from Oxf*rd and on his friends list). Much like after the firing of Comey, the CUHC webmaster is absent (#AnyoneSeenJean) so there is not enough evidence to indict Harry. I’m not saying that Harry is narcissistic or an egomaniac, but there are some disturbing parallels.
Congrats to all those who made the top 10, which was again dominated by the Nomads, but with some strong competition from the Wanderers.
Harry Leng (251)
Tristan Hipper (238)
Georgie Jones (232)
Seb Cheli (226)
Ollie Rose (220)
Sophie Wilson (210)
Jess Czink (208)
Harriet Potter (202)
Annie O’Neill (200)
Laura Sweeting, Beth Barker (199)
There were others in the club that made a good effort despite being severely disadvantaged. So we also rated everyone according to what percentage of their friends reacted to their profile picture. If Owain were to have as many friends as Seb Cheli, he’d have got 638 likes instead of his (still respectable) 108.
Owain Houghton (34.95%)
Rachel Stoner (28.99%)
Vivi Way (27.60%)
Lydia Michaelides (26.95%)
Louis Totton (26.84%)
To get yourself on this list, consider a friend list cull. For instance Ethan Gardner has culled 229 friends over the last year.
Nomads won the team competition, despite many attempts to change the data so some other team could win (see Jervis’ attempt last week for instance). Nothing worked, so they get first place. Hopefully next year one of the other teams could put a little effort in and compete for the title.
No, I’m not going to call people out here for not getting many likes, that would just be harsh on Damian.
Instead I’m going to try and work out who the snake is in the club (and I don’t mean the Wanderers). Someone has gone through and unliked the entire Nomads team’s profile pictures. This is the worst act of social sabotage recorded in CUHC history.
The CUHC Media Team reacted immediately, launching an independent investigation headed up by Chief Inspector Baz. Matt Jervis, after his criticism of the Nomads in last weeks preview, was initially arrested on suspicion of the crime, but had several alibis (his name is on the like list for a number of the Nomads) so had to be released.
The investigation then compiled a list of everyone who has like a Nomads profile picture, and compared this to the list of members of CUHC. The results were shocking. 12 Squanderers, 5 Wanderers and 3 Beds haven’t liked a single Nomad profile picture. Why all the hate? I reached out to captain Beth Barker for comment, and she reckons she’s got the answer.
I was particularly disappointed to see Harry Leng’s name on the list, since 8 of the Nomads liked his profile to help him win, but he didn’t return the favour. (editors note: CUHC does not take any responsibility for damage done to Harry by the Nomads as a result of this information)
Whilst useful to know, this didn’t help track down the mysterious snake. If anyone has any information that could lead to the identification of the snake then please contact @General_Baz.
This year, we are pleased to announce a 100% uptake from the Nomads and Beds. Unfortunately both the Wanderers and Squanderers had someone let the side down.
Deme possibly thought leaving his picture the same would be acceptable if he was in CUHC kit. He was wrong. It’s a pity really as the hair really suits him.
Fletch likewise thought being in kit could get him off the hook. Wrong. So I took a look back through his profile pictures over the years, and the last 7 are in all in CUHC kit (if you include the one where he’s got the CUHC tie on). That’s still no reason not to make it 8 Peter. Two things are infinite: stash possibilities, and profile pictures containing stash.
* as measured by number of profile picture changes.
Apparently there are some league games this weekend.
MBlues play Ipswich 1s at Wilby. They won’t have to worry about conserving energy for the following day, but they probably will be thinking about the largest boozing sesh of their year so might be a bit distracted. Still, I’m sure they’ll win as Ipswich are 12 points behind them at the moment.
Nomads? More like No-game amirite.
WBlues don’t have a game. This gives them the unique opportunity to have a 24 hour long pre before #BDotY, something no team has attempted before.
The Wandies also don’t have a game, but won’t be having a 24 hour pmb I hope.
No game for the Beds or Squandies – they opted to play the rearranged fixtures from early January next Sunday instead, in order to have the day to mentally prepare themselves for the tasks ahead.
Despite being a slip weekend, there’s still a lot of hockey going on in Cambridge tomorrow and Sunday. Make sure to check on the news from the week as well, with all the teams now having been announced for Varsity (9 days woop).
The Nomads have a busy weeked with two rearranged fixtures. On Saturday they have a league game against bottom of the league Bury St Edmunds, after the fixture was called off in early January. They’ll be hoping for a win to keep their hopes of staying in 1N alive, a big challenge with 4 teams getting relegated. That game’s away at 2pm. In a different situation entirely, they are playing a Bucs game on Sunday against Coventry, where they need a win to keep their promotion hopes alive.
Womens blues are just doing fitness. #gainz
The mens side of the club have no league games, instead all 4 teams are playing in friendlies against each other, with the blues playing the Wanderers at 9am, and the Squandies playing the new Blundies team at 1:30pm.
This week I’m going to start with the stats table, as that’s everyone’s favourite bit of the weekend previews:
Position in table
Opposition position in table
Bourne Deeping 1s
Cam Nomads 1s
Wisbech Town 1s
St Albans 1s
A few good games in there. Beds remain just 5 points from safety, and playing 11th place Bourne Deeping is a good chance to begin their meteoric rise up the table that we’re all expecting. Nomads have a tough fixture against 3rd place Dereham, but with strong recent form the eternally optimistic pundits at CUHC Media are predicting a light blue win. Squandies have a chance to prove they’re in 4th place for a reason (and not just because they’ve played an extra game compared to everyone around them) by smashing the Nomads and opening up the gap between us and the middle of the table. Wandies better not mess up against bottom of the table Wisbech, there’s not even the excuse of the dodgy pitch as they’re playing at home (Wisbech are on 7 points, all 7 have been in home fixtures).
Although just two places separate the WBlues and Maidstone, that’s actually a 10 point difference in a prem league that is split down the middle (though Maidstone also have a game in hand). The MBlues face the most daunting challenge of the teams playing tomorrow, against a strong looking St. Albans side. Table position doesn’t really reflect how close the blues have been in a lot of their fixtures though, so again the un-tamable optimism of the media gurus are thinking this one will go our way.
Looking at the weather forecast, tonight is looking very mild, so all games should be on.
And what a weekend it looks like! I’m as excited as Pete Fletcher in a lift, and you should be too.
With Cam City hoping to strengthen the Wilberfortress, you might be inclined to think them our allies. Not so! The Beds and Nomads won’t be forgiving as they grind Cam City 3s and 2s respectively into the sand. We do, however, fully support the efforts to get more pitches at Wilby, so another reminder that there’s a public exhibition of the plans on Tuesday. Unfortunately there aren’t multiple pitches there yet, so the beds are instead playing away at the Perse Girls School, 1230 pb, whilst the Nomads get the home game at midday. The Beds have come a long way since their previous fixture against City, where the beds had a goalie and subs for the first time. Czink didn’t write a match report the last time the Nomads played top of the league City, but they lost 4-1. Please write match reports DoDs, or mug shots will appear of you on the website. The Nomads also didn’t play last weekend, so the only game I have to go off is their loss against the Blues in the week when they (perhaps predictably) lost, but showed a lot of class that hopefully will translate into a win on Saturday.
Also playing a local Cambridge team, the Squandies face Cam South 1s, the team who got promoted with them last year. The previous meeting resulted in a 2-0 win to the squandies, though the with Zhao in goal getting MoM and the match report not sounding quite as reässuring as the scoreline the squandies won’t be going into this complacent. Nevertheless, with a good win last week and the team looking strong, there’s no reason why Joe’s team can’t be setting their sights on keeping themselves in the top 4 (currently 4th place, but with two teams below having a game in hand). 1030 at Wilby for that game.
Elsewhere in the East Leagues, the Womens Blues are playing Wapping 1s and the Wandies play Old Southendian 1s. The previous meeting between the Blues and Wapping was a thrilling fixture, with the teams at nil all plus 4 with an even split at 60 minutes. Unfortunately the final result didn’t go our way, but with the blues on good form, unbeaten after 3 games this year (including the Nomads admittedly), the Wapping team are going to be in for a rough ride. 1230 at Wapping to see that. The Wandies meanwhile smashed Old Southendian last time, 5-2 the final score. With Old South on just 9 points so far this year, its a fixture the Wandies should be winning. 1330 away.
Finally, the Mens Blues play Saffron Walden 1s at home, a team just 2 points below them in prem A. Another fixture CUHC needs to start dominating in the run up to varsity, as the teams start to gel and play the fluid hockey we know we can. 1330 at the Wilberfortress to see them in action and cheer them on. The blues have had a tough season, narrowly missing out on results in the some very tense games, the hockey has been top notch though, so the results will surely follow.
Sunday and the club plays against people who used to be here, and in most cases wished they still were. To give them half a chance of competing, I expect to see everyone in Spoons Saturday evening. Many alumni believe the club can never return to the glory days of when they were playing, which is somewhere between 1990 and 2016. They are, of course, wrong. The club is stronger than ever and we’ll prove it on Sunday. You may hear phrases come out such as “Back in my day…” or “Remember X?”, just ignore them. Chat, much like hockey ability, needs to remain fresh – it doesn’t age well like cheese, wine or CUHC.
Twas the last Saturday league games before Christmas, and all round Wilby the preparations were beginning to win 5 games. But in addition to the endless thoughts on new short corner routines and possible college players to bring in to bolster the sides, some were thinking ahead to Christmas knowing that not everything is available on Amazon Prime for next day delivery on the 23rd. Here is what CUHC is wishing for this year.
Squanderers to Stop Hating Goals
With Monty and Cockers tirelessly drilling the Squandies in their deflections and goal scoring, it’s perhaps surprising that in the last 6 games they’ve scored just 7 goals. Whilst it’s been enough to get them 7 points from those 6 games, last week’s 2-1 defeat against Sudbury shows that 1 goal a game probably isn’t enough. This week they play Norwich City 3s 10:30am at home, a side sitting 3rd from bottom, so hopefully it’ll be a chance to improve those stats.
Beds to Start Winning
Whilst playing flair hockey is always an admirable thing, winning is what the leagues will rank you on. With just the one win this term so far, you’d be forgiven for thinking the outlook is bleak for the Beds, but that’s not the case just yet. Whilst promotion is probably setting the sights a little high, the bottom of the table is tight and the Beds remain just 4 points behind Bourne Deeping, just outside the relegation zone. Two wins is enough to get them back to safety, and with any luck that could start this weekend against the Cambridge Nomads, currently 4th from bottom. Push back is 11am, at the Nomads’ astro.
Wanderers to Stop Being Snakes
The Ws don’t have a game this weekend, and the title is pretty self explanatory, so no need to write any more.
Nomads to Keep the Streak
3 games unbeaten now, that’s a good sign of a team on their way back up the league table. In fact the only game they’ve got points in apart from the last three was the first game of the season against Colchester, who they play again this weekend in the midday Wilby fixture. With the team still 3 points from safety, the streak is an important confidence boost, and proof going into next term that the season is about to be turned around by the self proclaimed “loosest team in CUHC”.
Mens Blues – Some Composure
Another classic case of the university team playing some exceptional hockey before getting distracted/angry/forgetful. It’s the same story being told across the club but it’s been turning wins into draws, and draws into losses this year. They were able to keep their noses in front last weekend against Ipswich, though the end of the game was described as “frenetic” by Botters’ match report. Hopefully it will be a little more controlled this weekend against Letchworth 1s, push back is Wilby 13:30. Letchworth are solidly mid table, 4 points ahead of the boys in light blue, and beat us 2-0 in the first game of the season. A term of training and playing together has left the blues a much better team than the one starting the season, so we’re hoping for 3 points.
Womens Blues – Biscuit Bevan Bingo
No? I don’t get it either. So I’ll talk about this weekend instead. The blues play Norwich City 1s, currently sitting rock bottom in Prem A. At the start of the season, the blues won 3-1, and again should have improved after a term of team bonding. Currently the best team in CUHC (beating the Squanderers on goal difference 🙁 ), its time for the blues to push higher towards the top of the league. They’re just 6 points behind second place, so a podium finish is still on the cards (though with only one team promoted and Bedford 7 points clear at the top, promotion is optimistic).
The CUHC Media Team – Some More Chat
Unlike most of the other teams in CUHC, the Media Team got off to a strong start, but has struggled the last few weeks. With no match report at all last week, which we can only apologise for, and a somewhat dull preview this week, it is clear the stream of chat has gone dry. Have no fear though, as a rigorous chat training regime has been put in place for the holidays, with extra changes planned for the site and media accounts. We’ll be back next term, with chat fresher than Kirky and as fun as the nomads.
Position in table
Opposition position in table
Norwich City 3s
Norwich City 1s
Cambridge Nomads 1s
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