HOCKEY: HAMPTON-in-Arden skipper Dafydd Bowles has his sights firmly set on a return to the Midland League Premier Division after playing his part in a promotion-winning season.
A comfortable 9-0 victory over Shrewsbury on Saturday ensured that Hampton were crowned champions of the Midland League Division Two with a game to spare.
Bowles scored a hat-trick in what was the club’s highest win of the season and while the overall aim is solidify next season, the Hampton skipper does have one eye on the top flight of hockey in the West Midlands.
He told the Observer: “Our hope is to establish ourselves as a Midlands Division One team with aspirations to returning to Midlands Premier when the time is right.
“Everyone’s determination and dedication to training and playing as a team throughout the season has been the key to our success.
“This is evident by how many scorers we have in the top scorers table. Our team was strengthened by some key players coming in, youth players emerging through our club’s youth system and some experienced players.
“We felt this year that, if we could get the team in the right mindset and playing a good style hockey, winning the league would be the result.
“We have just taken it one game at a time. It was more important that we solidified our team after a tough couple of years.”
“A lot of our success is down to our coach Jon Doherty he has been instrumental to our team’s success and our club development.”
Bowles got the ball rolling against already relegated Shrewsbury with a fierce strike and he doubled the lead shortly after with a trademark penalty corner finish.
Chris Popplewell made it 3-0 with a smart solo goal and Jon Coleman added a fourth just before half-time to put Hampton in control.
The home side did not let off in the second half with further goals coming from Bowles, Popplewell, Coleman, Jas Ghata-Aura and Tom Williamson – his first ever for the club.
The champagne flowed after the game and Hampton will be looking to finish the season off on a high when they travel to Leicester for the final game of the season this weekend.