In this brand new feature we are going behind the scenes of the club to meet some of the people who keep us all playing hockey on the pitch and off. From Captains to Coaches to Committee members and every one in between.
We start this week by looking towards the illustrious middle to nether regions of the mens section and the Captain of the 4A’s the wine merchant cum sportsman Will Hargrove who tells us about how he got involved with the club and working with players from 13-80 as well his recommendation for your January wine cellars.
When did you and what led you to join Southgate HC?
It was summer 2014 and as a result of doing “back to hockey” which my wife had spotted advertised somewhere! (probably wanted me out the house).
Before you joined where did you play?
In terms of hockey previously it had been school where I had loved it. I guess I first played aged about 9 or 10 and that was on grass. In between I played from Finchley Rugby club until about 2011 when too many concussions got the better of me.
What have been the highlights of your time at the club?
Playing 3 seasons in the same team as my son (Charlie) was a very special time and the other highlight would be a procession of promotions. On a more emotional level I love coming up against the same opponents each year – a good fun rivalry.
How long have you been captain/coached X team?
I think properly for about 3 seasons. It was a bit more of a moveable feast before that with Mike (Fitter), George (Howard) and I sharing the Tankards captaincy around a fair bit as that section expanded. I think in many ways people realised I wasn’t going to keep my mouth shut so I may as well be captain!!
Can you explain where the 4A’s came from and what makes the team special?
The 4As came out of the Tankards section of the cub which was a pool of players (aged 13-80+!) that initially was one team and then grew to be 3 teams. With the success of the 3As it was decided that Tankards A become 4A – a good means of bringing youth into the men’s part of the club.
How has the team been getting on this season?
After the promotions I mention above I think we have found our level. We are 3 wins and 4 losses thus far but have played the top teams more than the bottom, we are solidly midtable.
What have been the challenges that have come with the job?
I think the only real challenge has been about balance – the balance between youth and age and between bringing players on to be better and wanting to win but not at all costs (the latter took a while to get used to!!).
When not captaining or coaching what do you in your non hockey life?
I am a wine merchant by trade (good use of my sports study degree!) and generally love all sport – watching and playing.
What are your hockey ambitions for your team, for you and for the club?
Team wise to be competitive, to enjoy it and to gain promotion next season. I just want to enjoy my hockey I’d like to play for as many teams in the club as possible and keep umpiring which I enjoy. For the club I would just like to see things grow and be more successful but with a good club feel – it does feel like it is moving in the right direction with a lot of players of all ages moving around the teams – seeing some of the youngsters I first played with in tankards now pushing for 2s and 1s is rewarding (not that they learnt much of use from me!).
Finally could you recommend a wine to get us through January?
Right then, well, being winter it should be red and I love Italian wines a great deal so I am going to say Soraie 2017 from Cecilia Beretta in the Valpolicella region. Rich and decadent, cracking value!