It was 23 years ago, in 1997, the Somerset Open Boys Hockey team went into the history books. The climax of an era of greatness for Somerset Hockey, our 1997 side took out a second-straight APS hockey premiership.
It would be a number of years until the current crop of Spartan athletes were even born, let alone left their mark on the College. As we’ve witnessed the stunning transformation of Somerset sport from a ragtag crew to the menacing and professional Spartan brand, one thing has been lacking. Unparalleled success has been achieved in Netball, Basketball, Rugby, Football and Cricket, among many other sports, but one sport has remained a thorn in our APS dominance. A chink in the Spartan armour. Heading into the 2020 season, the Open Boys Hockey team was determined to finally break the 23-year premiership drought.
On day 1, our new coach summoned us for our first team meeting. The message was simple. A steely eyed Mr Andrew Michael laid down the 2020 season goal – to win the premiership. For years, the team had started the season as powerhouses, ready to set the competition alight, but had devolved into a smouldering ember in the clutch moments of the big games. Dominant performances in the 3rd VS 4th playoff had prefaced echoes of, “oh what could have been” and “next year will be our year”. Under our new coach, new training programme and overhaul of the attitudes, values and structures within the team, we are finally ready to break the drought. Resembling an ancient Spartan army fiercely chanting ‘Aroo’, 11 to 1 and 12 nil victories over King's Christian College and Emmanuel College have been a testament to the focus, dedication and will of the boy. Despite our home ground more closely resembling a World War I trench than a hockey pitch, we have made no excuses. The pride in the Open Hockey uniform is building by the day. Each cog in the team is starting to churn. And we’re just getting started.
To the students, staff, parents and everyone involved with the school, I hope our trophy cabinet has some space. The Open Boys Hockey premiership trophy is coming home for the first time in 23 years. Aroo!
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