A winless season in the Men’s Hockey Premier will see Edinburgh ply their trade in the Premier South for the 2022/23 season.
The Scottish team picked up just two points from their eight BUCS hockey league matches, while conceding a league-high 29 goals.
Upon reflection, the team will rue missed opportunities, having been unable to convert draws into wins, and losing two close games by a one-goal margin.
A lot changes in a year for Edinburgh
Edinburgh had a 2021/22 to remember, being able to celebrate promotion to the top tier of men’s university hockey following a successful campaign.
The team finished second in the Premier North, but were the highest ranked team that were eligible for the playoffs, as it was Nottingham 2’s who ended in first place.
The side from north of the border certainly made the most of the opportunity, earning promotion through the playoffs at the second time of asking.
Going up against Oxford Brookes, who were in the playoffs as they finished eighth in the Men’s Hockey Premier, they demonstrated their ability to get the better of the big teams with a dominant 4-1 win.
However, less than a year later, Edinburgh will be making their return to the Premier North after a failure to establish themselves in the top tier.
They went into their final game of the season away to sixth-placed Nottingham Trent knowing a first win of the season may be enough to avoid automatic relegation due to their superior goal-difference compared to Oxford.
Despite scoring four goals, they were unable to get the better of a resilient Trent team who scored four of their own as the points were shared.
Oxford now preparing to fight for Men’s Hockey Premier status
Edinburgh’s failure to win means Oxford finished the season in eighth, and now will take part in a winner-takes-all match to try to continue to compete in the top tier.
Oxford only picked up one win throughout the season, which came in the first match of the season, against their relegation rivals, Edinburgh. Neither side would have been aware of the importance of the fixture in October, but Oxford have their place in the playoffs due to this win.
A draw in their final match, away to Birmingham, meant they finished with four points, and represented only the second time they had avoided defeat this season.
The playoffs see the top two eligible teams from the Premier North and Premier South fight for two places in the premier division of men’s university hockey. This year will see Sheffield Hallam and Bristol compete.
How the playoffs will look
The first order of business is to replace Edinburgh, meaning the two teams face off with the winner earning promotion.
The loser of this playoff will then go up against Oxford, with the winner taking part in the Men’s Hockey Premier next season.
Bristol enjoyed an unbeaten season in the Premier South, winning seven out of their eight games, drawing the other. The highlights were an impressive 6-0 win away at Cambridge, and a tight 1-0 victory against second-placed Exeter 2’s.
Sheffield Hallam will want to make the most of the opportunity afforded to them as the first eligible team from the Premier North, despite finishing in third. Nottingham 2’s and Durham 2’s are ineligible as their first teams’ are already in the top league.
Hallam picked up five wins in seven games, including inflicting first-placed Nottingham’s only defeat of the season. They will prove a tough challenger in the playoffs, especially with their strong defence who have only conceded nine goals so far.
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