Hampstead & Westminster women see twos join ones at National League level
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead & Westminster women’s second team have been celebrating after clinching promotion to Conference East.
They won 14 of their 19 completed matches this season, before hockey activity was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And that ensured a little bit of club history as Hampstead will now field two teams in the National League for the first time in 2020/21.
Manager Sharon Konfederak said: “Winning the league feels amazing! We have been working very hard towards getting closer to our ones this season and we do think it is a great accomplishment to get promoted two years in a row.
“The key to our success is founded in team building. We have had a lot of changes in the season, with players coming in and out of injuries and selection.
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“But our coaches do focus on the commitment to the team and club. A successful team for us has been in building team bonding and playing as a team once we step on the field.”
Coached by Toby Reynolds-Cotterill, with under-17 goalkeeper Alex O’Connor the club’s highest playing junior, Hampstead finished six points clear of Witney in South League Division One.
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And Konfederak says her side are relishing the challenge of stepping up to the higher level, adding: ”We need to make sure we refine some of our skills (particularly in the goal scoring side), but overall we are looking forward to it.
“I think throughout the season we demonstrated that we are ready for this level, and it will be a nice adjustment to have.”
With the men’s first team finishing runners-up to Surbiton, having been crowned champions of England last year during their 125th anniversary campaign, the atmosphere in the club – which fields 19 senior teams – remains very special.
Konfederak said: “HWHC has a fantastic club atmosphere. The club is run by people that love the sport. It is quite amazing to be part of it.
“The women’s ones have done an amazing job during their first season in the Premier and we couldn’t do anything but try to accompany it.
“Everybody has been very supportive of the successes we had last year and this year combined. We work quite closely with Kate Richarson-Walsh and Sarah Kelleher when it comes to our teams, and we look forward to what is to come in the next season as well.”
And although the team have not been able to end the season in the traditional way, with their last three fixtures unplayed, squad members are keeping in close contact during the current lockdown in the UK.
“Although it was not the celebration we were expecting, we are keeping the spirits high. We met last Wednesday via the ‘House Party’ App and divided ourselves to play games with a couple of celebratory drinks,” said Konfederak.
“We are expecting to have a chat every Wednesday. On top of some obvious chats on the groups too, soon enough we will be getting our preseason pack. But the celebrations will happen as soon as we are allowed out – you can hold me accountable to that!
“A big thanks to everyone that supported our Road to Promotion this year, our coaches Toby Reynolds-Cotterill and Joe Hillyer for putting up with us chatty bunch and ensuring we always stay positive and with our heads up, and Richard Smith, Beth Havelock and Jonny Dodds for always being supportive and doing all they could to support the twos.”