Sport

Wimbledon’s unstoppable ladies hockey side closing in on Division One South title

By Mark Stillman
February 28 2020, 22.00
[email protected]_Londoner

Wimbledon Ladies hockey side have won all 14 league matches this season as they hunt for a first ever campaign in the Premier Division.

The Investec Division One South side have conceded just five goals along the way and are seven points clear of nearest rivals Reading, a venue where they could clinch the title next Saturday.

Should they finish top, they will face a play-off for promotion against the winners of Division One North. A win will earn promotion, a defeat will require a two-legged match against the team finishing ninth in the top flight.

Former Wales and GB international Simon Organ is head coach and is already looking ahead should they win promotion.

Organ said: “We play a lot of training games against teams from the Premier League and know we can hold our own.

“A lot of the stuff we do now is to prepare us for that next step.

“A lot of clubs have such solid foundations. There are 900 junior members here.

“Even though a six-year-old has no influence on the first team, having that foundation creates stability.”

Organ, 49, featured in two Commonwealth Games tournaments for Wales, for whom he earned 100 caps.

The former forward also coached in South Africa and the Netherlands before returning to the UK and joined Wimbledon in October 2018 as hockey director.

His side finished runners-up to Hampstead and Westminster last year, despite winning their last six matches, which has crossed into this season to make it 20 victories in a row.

“It wasn’t to be,” said Organ. “It was important that we just kept learning and growing, which we have.

“Wimbledon Ladies have been so desperate to get into the Premier League. It’s where we need to be.

“Even though we’ve won all these games, it’s still just about developing ourselves. We’re looking at what we can do to play at a higher level of hockey.

“In the league above there are different styles of opponents. In the way we play, controlling the game is quite important. At the moment our opponents’ game is based on resilience.

“You’ve got to be patient, otherwise you gift opponents openings by your own impatience.”

The part-time side include Anna Toman and Suzy Petty in their ranks. Both picked up bronze medals for England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Toman is likely to feature for Team GB in Tokyo this summer.

“The players are sometimes racing from the train to attend training,” Organ laughed.

“They’re just friends. The dynamic of the group is so strong and full of a lot of quality people.

“The results make it look like it’s easy. It’s not. We’ve worked so hard for this and long may it continue.”

Wimbledon’s hockey teams play their home matches at Raynes Park High School with free admission for the ladies side. Today they are away to Canterbury at 2pm.

The first of those play-offs takes place on Sunday, March 29 at a neutral venue.

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