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City of York hockey boss vows to build on top flight survival
10:56am Tuesday 24th April 2012 in Hockey
A rollercoaster ride of a season will stand City of York Hockey Club men’s I in good stead for the future, according to manager Martin Parrott, writes Jack Bradshaw.
The team survived in the North Hockey League premier division by the skin of their teeth after Alex Cockram secured a 3-3 draw against Formby in their final match earlier this month.
Needing only a point and going 2-0 up with half an hour left, York crumbled spectacularly going 3-2 down with five minutes remaining, before Cockram scored a vital penalty flick.
Manager Martin Parrott said: “It seemed like everything that the team had worked at during the season would be wasted.
“I have nothing but full admiration for how Alex Cockram dealt with the pressure (of the penalty flick). Basically he had the whole season resting on that one action.”
He added: “With this year’s experience, we will be more than capable of holding our own next year and be pushing for a top half finish.”
The main difference between the premier division and the lower tiers is not necessarily the skill levels of the players, but rather the experience.
Parrott explained: “Of the 12 teams in the division, three have recently experienced National League hockey and three are the second teams.
“In the first division we were always good enough to come back when we went under pressure, but in the premier division the punishment for a slight lapse in concentration is usually capitalised on.”
The key results which propelled York to safety included a 6-2 win against Oxton in March which showcased the true qualities of Jack Purrington, who had been missing for most of the season.
Paradoxically, the 4-3 defeat to champions Wakefield was also vital for confidence as York knew they always had a chance of scoring against the best sides.
But Parrott said: “It is against some of the lesser teams that we seem to struggle to stamp our authority on the game and gain comfortable victories.”
Crucially, York never lost belief in their abilities, with coach Ollie Couttie and captain Chris Wilson possessing the tactical nous and motivational thrust where other teams might have lost hope.
Next season’s campaign is likely to be equally challenging, with former National League sides from the North East and North West being relegated.
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