And we’re off! First league games of the season coming up, let’s hope all the preseason fitness sessions/parkruns have paid dividends.

Along with getting your availability in for these vital opening encounters, you should also turn your attention to the following tasks:

  • Training – Timetables are up to date on the website (Mens, Ladies and Academy). It’s important to make these, so we can get the teams match ready and win.
  • Kit – Keep ordering from the Academy Sports Shop.
    • Package deals for men and women are now up. These will get you everything you need to not only play hockey this year, but also look fabulous both on and off the pitch at a significant saving over buying everything individually.
    • The second batch of playing shirt orders will be going off next week, so get your order in for that. Shirt numbers are allocated when you order it, but talk to Mike Byrd if you have any particular requests and he’ll see if he can squeeze you in.
  • Register if you haven’t already. You won’t be insured while playing hockey until you do. We also won’t have your contact details and you’ll miss out on some exceptionally witty banter (or vital communications). You could even be missing out on selection, or lose your shirt number.
  • On the subject of witty banter, you should definitely check out the club Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow/like/subscribe/react or whatever the young kids are calling it these days. You might learn something new, like that Kangaroos cannot jump backwards.

On to this weekend and there’s plenty of hockey on offer for those willing to brave the “light rain showers and moderate breeze” forecast at Balcarras. The home fixtures start with the L3s at 10:45am, playing a team called the “Badgers” – not to be confused with our own Badgers side who are playing Newent somewhere else and at some other time. Fun Fact: there will likely be players in the CHC side born *after* the release of the famous Badger animation. Why do I not link to Youtube? Because it predates youtube.

L3 skipper Tegz getting some goalscoring practice in at the #funday last weekend.

Second up at Balcarras the L1s are making their return to the national league with their opening fixture against the University of Oxf*rd at 12:30pm. Charli’s team face a side in a similar position, also being newly promoted into the west conference. In Oxf*rd’s case though it’s from the dubiously named “South Clubs” league – in which the second most southerly team is Basingstoke. It’s a big game for the club, so head down to Balcarras to show your support for the team in what is sure to be an exciting game.

The final home game of the day is the M2s against West Wilts, 2pm pb. Sure to be a close game, with CHC finishing last season just 2 points ahead and both winning the home fixture 3-1. West Wilts last year won just a single game away from home, and with our boys unbeaten this year on Balcarras (1-0 win last weekend before the #funday against M3s) the CHC Media Team are definitely backing black.

Away from home, the L2s are the earliest fixture playing BAC at Abbeywood School. After a lot of research, we still can’t determine what “BAC” actually stands for, and we went back to 2010 without finding a BAC vs. Cheltenham fixture. A completely unknown quantity, let’s hope winning for our L2s is as easy as ABC.

M3 face Whitchurch 3s away, or possibly the 4s after a crazy last season saw Whitchurch’s 3s relegated whilst the 4s almost got promoted out of the same league (denied by 6 points of deductions for playing an illegal player in one game and failing to submit a correct match card for another).

M4 play at Plock Court, 2pm push back, against what until recently was called Cleevillians (now Bishops Cleeve). After a rollercoaster of a season last year for the Cleevillians club, which included folding the first team and an 8 point deduction for the seconds (costing them promotion), the M4s calm tranquility should give them an edge. Last year Nick’s M4s lost the fixture 5-1 and 6-4, so expect goals galore.

Last of all, M1s are away at Cardiff University for their return to the West Conference. Both teams were promoted from the Prem last year, and the head to head results make it likely we’ll see a very close fixture (2-2 and 3-2 loss). With term time not yet started for the Universities, the early season fixture should benefit Beno and his team who are now 6 weeks in to a rigorous preseason fitness regime.

Good luck everyone! Check back here over the weekend or on twitter to see the results come in.