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It was to be 3rdtime lucky for the Men's Vets... Having been league runners up for the previous two seasons, the group finally secured the club's first ever Vets London League Division 1 Title on Saturday April 21st 2018 !
The season started with five straight victories, the highlights being a home victory against the 2016 champions Reading and a hard fought away win versus last year's champions, Hampstead & Westminster.
Then came a run of four difficult games; first up an away trip to Wimbledon, only a last minute Wimbledon goal could halt the Vets winning streak though a draw was a fair reflection on the game. A home victory against then 2nd placed Old Georgians followed. Next up was a mouth watering contest away against Reading, in what was the game of the season both sides traded blows but neither could find a winner with the game ending in a 3-3 draw.
The Vets would go into the Christmas break in 1st place and unbeaten following a hard fought 2-0 win against Tulse Hill, however this was also to be Peter Loader's final game of the season. The rock at the centre of the defence decided that Bermuda was to be his new home for 2018.
Corner specialist Mikey Holland was finding the back of the net with regularity, backed up by field goals from the likes of Ben Payne, Julian Mills, Phil Coote and Julian Mogg. The Vets also boasted the meanest defence in the league as the team conceded just 10 times in the first half of the season, Giles Dakin and the defensive team of Guy Workman, Jason Coleman, Jamie Doherty, Andy Rogers and the now departed Peter Loader were in outstanding form and new team additions Jez Subedar and Steve Micklewright had settled in well.
The second half of the season was a far more inconsistent affair with the team performances well below the standards of the first half of the season, coupled with a number of player availability issues, though we were able to call upon the services of Paul Adams for the first time. A routine home win against Southgate was followed by our worse performance of the season going down 3-1 away at Epsom.
The team picked themselves up from losing their unbeaten status by defeating first Hampstead and Westminster and then Spencer. A home draw against Wimbledon followed. Then what could have been a pivotal game against Old Georgians, 1st versus 2nd; the Vets were under strength and out-played by OG's. A 6-2 loss was the result and we now found ourselves in 2ndplace with just 3 games remaining.
Due to the adverse weather and fixture backlog the league decided that there was to be no end of season playoffs to decide the champions, so it was now a two horse race against OG's to win the league.The maths were simple, due to a game in hand 3 victories would be enough for the Vets.
First up was an away fixture versus Surbiton, in a very close encounter we just edged it 4-2 with Richard Payne netting the goal of the season. A 7-4 victory away at Tulse Hill followed with Mikey Holland bagging a hat-trick. The final game of the season was played in glorious sunshine at Saint Hill, a 6-1 win against Surbiton and the Vets were crowned league champions. Mikey Holland scored two more to take his tally to 22 league goals for the season. Jamie Doherty and Steve Micklewright both scored their first goals of the season, the latter being his first goal for the club.
The Vets also made it through to the last eight of the Tier 1 Masters O40's National Cup, losing out to Indian Gym in a closely fought game at Saint Hill and a combined Vets/Saints team having won 3 from 3 in the qualifying tournament lost out in the Sussex Cup Final to Brighton. However with the main focus for the season being the league the Vets can now look back a say a job well done.
The Vets would like to thank all those members who took time out to umpire our home games and to thank all who supported us throughout the season. See you at the Awards Dinner!!