University of Exeter men’s first team head into the mid-winter mid-season outdoor hockey break top of the class.
The Greens beat title rivals University of Bath 2-1 in midweek to assure them top spot in the British Universities & Colleges Sports Premier South Division with one round remaining.
Unbeaten Exeter finish their BUCS league programme on Wednesday, January 24 at third-placed Cardiff Met knowing defeat would still enable them to qualify for the knock-out stages as Premier South champions.
The crucial victory over Bath, hot on the heels of a 6-0 romp at University of Bristol, means Exeter have won eight of their nine games to put them five points clear at the summit of a Bath outfit who will finish runners-up.
Both teams now qualify for next year’s knock-out stages.
Unstoppable Exeter also enter the winter term top of England Hockey Men’s Conference West. The Greens are having a good first half of the season and lead the Conference by three points from Cardiff & Met following eight wins – again – in their opening ten national Men’s Hockey League matches.
The in-form students have lost just twice in 19 senior competitive games, drawing just once in the BUCS league.
Nevertheless Exeter’s second defeat has thrown the title race wide open again. They lost 3-2 at home to University of Birmingham, who soared to third, trailing the leaders by only four points with eight League matches to play over the second half of the season.
Exeter return to national league action at fourth-placed Havant on Sunday, February 4 knowing they will have home advantage when they meet their closest rivals Cardiff in mid-March for a game that could well decide the title destination.
The side that tops Conference West goes through to a round- robin end-of-season promotion play-off. The two top sides in the four-way play-off are then rewarded with elevation to the Men’s Premier Division.
Exeter have experienced two spells in the top flight and would love another chance to be among the top ten men’s teams in the country again.