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Hockey: Hampstead & Westminster excited to take part in National League Finals Weekend

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 April 2017

Hampstead & Westminster captain Toby Roche (pic Mark Clews)

Hampstead & Westminster captain Toby Roche (pic Mark Clews)

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Hampstead have qualified for the Finals Weekend for the first time

Hampstead & Westminster skipper Toby Roche says the men’s firsts are looking forward to making history this weekend at the finals of the National Hockey League at the Lee Valley Tennis & Hockey Centre.

Simply by qualifying for the play-offs for the first time, Hampstead have already made history this season, but they do not want to stop there with a semi-final against regular season table toppers Wimbledon on Saturday.

Should Hampstead come through that victorious, they will then play the final against either Holcombe or Surbiton the following day.

But regardless of what happens this weekend, Roche says everyone at the club is looking forward to being involved in the play-offs for the first time.

“We’ve never been to the play-offs before, so it is an exciting time for everyone involved with the club,” said Roche.

“We’ve had a good couple of weeks leading up to this weekend, playing a few times on the pitch at Lee Valley and getting used to it.”

It will be a tough ask for Hampstead in the semi-finals, though, as they face a Wimbledon side who have impressed both at home and on the continent this season.

Over the Easter weekend, Wimbledon booked their place in the semi-finals of the European Hockey League, which are due to take place in Belgium in June.

But Roche is confident Hampstead have enough quality in their ranks to shock Wimbledon on Saturday and win through their semi-final.

“We’ve said all season long that if we want to be the best, we have to beat the best and over the past week, Wimbledon have shown that they are up there,” he added.

“In the games we had with them earlier in the season, we felt we were unfortunate not to win, so we know we can match them and we certainly won’t be overawed.

“Their European success might go one of two ways in that they could suffer something of a hangover and won’t be revved up for the weekend.

“Alternatively, they could be really focused and want to get back into the EHL again next season.”

With only a relatively short journey across London to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Newham, Roche also confirmed that a healthy number of Hampstead fans will be in attendance.

“The club have been advertising tickets for the Finals weekend and a lot of people bought some once we quaified. There should be a good crowd there to cheer us on.”

• Tickets for the Finals Weekend can be purchased here.

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