The 1’s surprised many in the Premier Division with consistent performances, a solid defence and the will to win. Six wins and two (narrow) loses during the first half of the season put the marker down that Spencer were going to be challenging at the business end of the division again this season.
With Spencer fielding 3 teams, all in very competitive divisions, no Spencer team could assume the luxury of fielding large squads each week. For most of the season the 1’s relied on their core squad of 10-12 players, who put down great performances week after week.
January and February saw a brief wobble with loses to Reading, EG and Blues, but the season was put back on track with wins at Hillcroft, Purley and at home to Cardiff.
Fighting to avoid relegation were four teams. Of all the southern league divisions, relegation from the Premier is hardest to take and it was the head-to-head record between EG and Hitchin that sealed the fate for the Surrey club who now join their 2nd team in East One next season.
A superb season for the Spencer 2’s in their first season in East Division One.
This years squad was a mix of players who helped gain promotion last season plus a healthy dose of new club members who all brought extra quality and enthusiasm to the team.
The opening game was a hard fought draw down at Brighton which send out the signal to other teams that the 2’s were going to be competitive in the league. The record shows a loss at Cambridge but the game was won comfortably on the day but Cambridge lodged a compliant citing illegible players. The players they thought were illegible were fine, but one selected player had played two previous 1’s games so fell foul of a league bye-law and the result was overturned.
At the Christmas break, the 2’s had a 3-1-3 record and were sitting mid-table. January brought the Blues re-match which ended in a draw followed by a defeat to Portmouth Uni in the cup competition. February gave opportunity for revenge over Cambridge Uni and the game was a classic with Spencer edging it by one goal. A three win streak in March closed out the season and placed the 2’s 3rd in the division.
An outstanding match at Reading was not played as agreed by both teams but this did not make any significant difference to division placings.
East Division Two was incredibly closely fought with six teams separated by only 3 points after 14 games, which meant promotion and relegation was not decided until the final game of the season.
Spencer 3’s started the season as the lowest ranked team, based on last season’s results. It was clear from early results that the standard across the division had gone up a notch. An opening draw against Epsom was deserved, but only one league win followed during the first half of the season with a narrow defeat at London Uni the closest to getting a second win.
Results may not of been great but the team performances were getting better each game. The core of the team; Colin in goal, Toby in defence, Brendan as long stick midfield and Gavin at face-off were ever-present and ensured no-one could really dominate against us. What was missing was a bit of attacking quality and experience up the other end.
Fortunes changed after the Christmas break. The squad ready to play Northampton was our strongest of the season but alas Northampton could not field a team. The default win was welcome and, ultimately cost Northampton as the lost point was the difference between them finishing 4th and 7th in the division.
The 3’s attack was strengthened now with Andrew available for the second half of the season and we went on a run of draw/win/win to move into mid-table during February. A gutsy draw against Maidstone followed by an epic performance to beat Epsom during March, just, and only just kept the 3’s in Division Two for next season.