Chair of Selectors Lucca Bilyard
preview by Alastair Whatley
Southgate Men’s 1’s (National League Division 1 South) endured a turbulent season in the fiercely competitive Division 1 South of the National League. Relegation proved a real fear as we hit the end of February without a head coach and suffering from players injured and unavailable. In the end it was only a huge team effort from those remaining under assistant coach Thaddeus Rivett that prevented the previously unthinkable idea of relegation. The highlight without doubt was the 1-0 away scalp to league leaders Reading in a truly gritty display despite having a depleted squad of 14.
The team finished up in 7th place in the league.
Yet despite what on paper was a disappointing season throughout it the team showed their ability to take on anyone, and were unlikely not to come away with points against Canterbury, Old Cranleighans, Bath, Sevenoaks and Oxford Hawks. It just needed a spark to set the team back to winning ways.
This season the Mens 1’s are reinvigorated under head coach Kwan Browne with a fleet of new signings, returning players as well as a host of Southgate senior players including Captain John Sterlini and Vice Captain Guilio Ferrini.
Look out for GB forward Matt Ramshaw and Trinidad international Teague Marcano up front and the inimitable Kwan Browne at centre back.
The M1’s go into their first game away at Brighton going from strength to strength, confident and raring to go after a strong pre-season. Watch this space.
Southgate Men’s 2’s (London Premier Division) are looking to begin the season as they finished the last one. 2021/2022 saw the team start slowly and slip quickly to the lower echelons of the London Premier Division before launching a fierce comeback to finish 3rd with Drew Burkin becoming the club top scorer with over 30 goals to his name.
This year under Captain Andrew Fell and Player/Coach Andrew Westbrook the 2’s are looking to stake their claim at a place in the National League. Wimbledon 2’s look to be the main rivals but Wapping 2’s helped my new head coach Julian Halls and West Hampstead 1’s are also set to challenge.
With the M1 squad proving fiercely competitive it is likely that the M2 squad may feature any number of M1 players on any given week and with younger members like Vivek Dongha, Veysel Demir and Kai Browne all challenging for places it should make for a superb team mixed with senior 2’s players, young talent and M1 squad players.
The first game is against newly promoted Barnes 1’s away. A pre season friendly saw the 2’s dominant in a 2-1 game, but Barnes showed clear potential and offered stiff resistance and won’t make life easy for Felly’s gallant gentlemen.
Southgate M3’s (London Division 2 North) Enjoyed 2/3 of a brilliant season which had them feted as real promotion contenders yet a string of disappointing results through March led them to slip down the table finishing a disappointing 4th place.
Yet that is not to forget some superb results along the way led by Captain Todd Lomas and marshalled by Andy Richardson in the defensive lines.
This season the M3 look to be a very different team with Todd moving up to the 2’s and Andy Richardson now the newly installed head coach of the W1’s along with a swarm of key younger players heading off to university. Expect therefore a new look team with exciting younger players coming up from the M4’s, some returning players all glued together by a core of Southgate seniors including Alex Gibson and Lucca Bilyard.
Promotion remains the clear aim.
Southgate M4’s (London Division 2 North) Had a purple season last year securing promotion under captain Kabir Bowry and now finding themselves in the giddy heights of London Div 2 North and in direct competition with none other than the M3’s.
It’s a league in fact with 3 clubs fielding two sides- which makes for a slightly unusual feel to the division.
This year Italian international Alessandro Onano is taking the reins as captain as he looks to take on the challenge of what will be a big step up from last season. Senior players include legendary striker Mitch Read who will be looking to improve on his goals tally from 2021/2022.
Southgate M5’s (London Division 4 North West) Enjoyed a superb season under captain David Richardson which after a slightly slow start cohered around senior players Ivan Stark, Andy “Robbo” Robertson and Mat Mitchell to produce some thrilling hockey and only a few epic disappointments along the way to securing promotion with the final game of the season against Indian Gymkhana in front of a packed balcony.
Alastair Whatley top scored with 18 goals with Rory Willmott providing stoic resistance and vocal encouragement from the defensive lines and all backed up by keepers Jon Dann and Sam Levene between the sticks.
This season the team face the challenge of London Division 4 North West as they look to step up their game against the likes of India Gymkhana 3’s and Richmond Griffins. First up though is East London 4’s at home bright and early on Saturday morning. 10:30am PB. Look out for returning 5’s legend Dhillon Shukla reclaiming his spot on the team sheet.
The Titans looked deadly as ever for much of the season under skipper Jatin Patel. Playing in the 050’s Master London Premiership the team regularly face some of the strongest sides in the country and frequently come out on top finishing a respectable 4th place.
This season they look to go one better with Nigel Knight and Ben Turner joining the squad. Brian Cade and Howard Wilson could out run most of the adult section of the club and form a defensive steel wall with Biffi marshalling proceedings from the middle.
Laurence Taylor and Tony Wizbek ensure clarity of mind is brought from the middle and Shamit Shukla deadly as ever lurking deep in the opposition 23. Last season Justin Edwards was a star signing in goal and expect more fireworks from ‘’the cat’ legend of Odense as the games get under way.
A fierce unit of seasoned professionals under the watchful eye of Cliff Peck, electrician to the stars, saw a comfortable and respectable mid table finish. Yet galvanised by a summer break the team will be looking to better that this year.
Senior players of the likes of Jonny Ray and Tim Gingell are offset by youngsters like Jez Lavy and Gary Arthurs- Jez proved a star last season who securing his spot in the Magnums line up with a string of fine performances.
Players to watch include Colin Warne, Pedro and Ben Reynolds.
This weekend the boys are taking it easy as their match against Surbiton vintage is being rearranged.