Wales’ leading male hockey team, Cardiff & Met have concluded the first half of National Hockey League season with the Play Offs to reach the Premier Division tentatively in their sights, after rounding off their 2015 fixtures four points clear at the top of the table in the Conference West Division.
Undefeated until their final match before the Christmas break, Cardiff & Met Head Coach Walid Abdo admits finishing on a 2-1 loss away to Guildford at the end of November was a frustrating end to their pre-Christmas campaign, but says the team are focused on the task ahead when league matches resume at the end of January:
“We were frustrated and annoyed to let our undefeated streak slip away at the end. After a few days you realise the reality is it that it would be very difficult to go the whole season unbeaten and at some point every good team has a setback.
“It’s important after a punch in the gut that we get back to winning ways as soon as possible. We are as, if not more motivated than before and we will channel that feeling from the loss into our training and into our preparation for the second half assault.”
Throughout the National Hockey League season, teams face each side in their division twice and Cardiff & Met have seven fixtures left to maintain their position at the top of the league if they hope to achieve their goal of winning the Conference West Division. This result would earn the team a place in the Premier Division Play-Offs at Queens Elizabeth Olympic Park in early April.
“Our aim was to be in with a shout of the play-offs at the halfway point. Our form and subsequent results have given us a chance to kick on and give the second half a good go. I can honestly say we are pleased, but very wary of getting carried away “, continued Abdo.
“We are however annoyed at the two draws and the loss, because I feel we could have and should have won those games. The team have been together a while now and they know that we have had a good start, but nothing else.”
In their first fixture back on the 30th January, Cardiff & Met are away to the University of Birmingham, who currently sit third in the league. In their first clash in September, Cardiff & Met stole a 2-1 win at home, but the side are not being complacent and know they post a big threat in their hunt to reach the Play Offs.
“The University of Birmingham are a fit, organised team with a lot of great individual talent. It’s always been a tough fixture and they will post threats all over the pitch. However, it will be no different to any other fixture with them; tight with very few errors and very few goals.”
Adbo added, “The most important thing is to win the league. We took our eye of the ball in the last game of the season last year and it cost us the title. If we can achieve that we can think about the possibility of play offs and promotion. There is no doubt it would huge not just for the players and staff, it would also be a huge achievement for hockey in Wales.”