Hockey: Wells look to avoid injury in bid to secure promotion

    DOWN THE LINE Tunbridge Wells Men’s 1st XI

    TUNBRIDGE WELLS Men’s 1st XI will be hoping to carry their recent winning streak into the new year and overtake current leaders Maidstone, who sit one point above them.

    After the disappointment of relegation from the South Premier League back into the regional set-up, an indifferent first half to last season was followed by a very strong second half, which saw Wells finish third in the league.

    First place in this campaign would ensure promotion, while second spot may offer another bite via a play-off. However, the complicated workings of the England Hockey League can mean that there is no play-off and therefore no second promotion place up for grabs – it all depends on the geographical location of clubs being relegated from higher leagues.

    There was no play-off last season, so the one way that Wells can make things simple would be to overhaul Maidstone.

    There are probably four or five sides in the league that could secure a top-two finish, so Wells will not underestimate their challenge. But the first half of this season has certainly put them right in the mix.

    With a small first-team squad, they will hope to avoid injuries to key players like player-coach Ben Allberry and skipper Callum Wood, which affected them in October and November.

    There is also the mouth-watering prospect of a Kent Cup semi-final against Canterbury to come, where they will hope to gain revenge for a last-minute defeat at the same stage of the competition against the same opposition last season.