Havant quartet shine in nationals as they taste glory after a memorable weekend with Godalming

Back row: Louis Elston , Matt Cooper, Tom Stevens. Front row: Freddie Hares. Havant players who enjoyed national success
Back row: Louis Elston , Matt Cooper, Tom Stevens. Front row: Freddie Hares. Havant players who enjoyed national success
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Four players from Havant Hockey Club represented the south east for Godalming College as they tasted national championship success.

In only their second season of playing hockey there the team made the final of the AOC national championships after a tough south east regional final where they defeated defending champions Peter Symonds College, who have a host of internationals.

Havant goalkeeper Louis Elston, defender Tom Stevens and forwards Matt Cooper and Freddie Hares were all in the Godalming party.

They made a long trek to Beeston, Nottingham University, and in wet and windy conditions it was a three-day tournament to decide the national champions.

On Friday they started the first match against the West Midlands with the news from the the opposing  coach that the West Midlands college team that had qualified couldn’t get a team out so they had taken the best players from four colleges. It was a very tough match but Godalming held on to win 2-1.

On Saturday in the pouring rain and high winds the second match was against last year’s runners up Exeter.

Godalming started strongly playing some excellent hockey and went on to win 4-0.

With their tails up they played their second game of the day against hills road college and easily won 5-1.

Sunday saw better weather and the boys only needed a point against Yorkshire and Humberside.

They started slowly, but grew stronger and eventually ran out 4-0 winners to be crowned national champions in style.

Havant coach Craig Stevens said: ‘Well done boys, we are very proud of you. And well done to coach Vicky Shelbourn who did an amazing job of getting the boys into a nationals with no outdoor pitch to train on.’

In the closing ceremony it was announced that the south east also won the Wilkinson sword team award for the region with the most combined points with the other sports in the AOC nationals tournament. 

Over the weekend Elston made some great saves, Stevens marshalled defence superbly, while Cooper and Hares created and scored goals using their excellent hockey skills.