WEEK 2 PREVIEW - 24th November 2018

by Mike Vigar

Matchday #2 of the Bipha South Wales 2018/19 is upon us, and we have an action packed day of hockey ahead at Cardiff City House of Sport.
Old rivals meet at 9, with the Hawks and Panthers facing off in the first game of the day. It's never easy to pick between these two, and with both teams rejuvenating their squads over the Summer, it's impossible to call who will come out on top.

This is your game for merchandise too, as the Panthers have focused on diversifying their wardrobe options over the off-season.
They've added 12 new colour variations to their hoodie offering, and rumour has it they have already commissioned a bespoke Panthers suit for this year's Senior nationals, so the pressure is on to qualify!

2018/19 debutants Cwmbran are up against a refreshed Swansea Admiral Audi Carlsberg AIG Bargain Booze Cobras at 10.
The Cwmbran franchise have been modest about their chances throughout the off-season but will be hoping to take the points in this game, and Swansea will be hoping to live up to their bold new image following some lucrative sponsorship deals and brand new top to bottom matching kits. Despite the new image, rumours about a financial fair play investigation remain unconfirmed.

We have another 2018/19 debutant at 10, with the Mighty Pucks from Swindon taking on league returners, Black Magic (who recently parted from long time coach Simon Cowell). Black Magic have returned with some fresh blood from the local area, as many of their long-standing squad members got fed up of the 8 hour drive from Cardigan. Despite their comparatively small squad though, they started the season with two convincing wins so the Mighty Pucks will be facing a tough opponent here.

We have the West Wales derby at Midday, with old local rivals the Swansea Cobras coming up against league returners the Gowerton Gamblers. It's great to see the Gamblers back, and after matchday #1 it is clear that they mean business. Swansea will be hoping that their refreshed squad will be too much to handle though, and this could be a tough wake up call for the Gamblers.

The Hawks then face off against the Magic, where it will be about style and slick hockey against 'whatever gets the puck in the net' (you all know which is which). Plenty of animosity in this one that goes back to some off-camera comments picked up on the microphones in Ebbw Vale about Llanishen's over-reliance on Timmy 'The Owl' Mordecai. Llanishen came out on top that day, and will be hoping to do so again today, but they know that it'll be an tough ask with some great individual talent in the Black Magic side.



At 2pm, Honey Badgers come into the mix with a game against Cwmbran. There are still some remnants of the Crossbones in the Badgers team, but they've added a huge dose of sunbed-suntan Caerphilly to the mix this season in a bid to strengthen their hand in the league/draw in some lucrative magazine deals. Whether the language barrier will get in the way remains to be seen, but aside from a loss to Llanishen, the Badgers have an exemplary pre-season friendly record and are odds-on favourite for this one. The penultimate game of the day sees the Swindon Mighty Pucks take on the Panthers.

The Mighty Pucks had a tough matchday #1 but getting used to the rink can be tough as we saw with Paignton in their inaugural season, so there's every chance that Panthers will find this one difficult.

Finally, we have a cracking game to finish the day with the Gamblers and Honey Badgers squaring up. This could be the game of the day with two really strong teams with lots of individual flare and talent, both wanting the W. The bookies can't pick between these two, but whoever comes out on top will surely be a favourite for the league. It's likely to be a close encounter, so get down to Cardiff City House of Sport to see all the action.

THE AGE GROUPS FOR THE 2018 - 2019 SEASON.

This table has been updated from last seasons Rule Book. However it is for guidence only and the Official Rule Book should be used as the final reference for determining which age group or competition a player is eligible to compete in.

AGE GROUP BIRTH YEAR NOTES
Under 8 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 May play up to U10
Under 102008 and 2009 Can play up to Under 12 and14 (See General rule 5f)
Under 122006 and 2007 Can play up to Under 14 and 16 (See General rule 5f)
Under 142004 and 2005 Can play up to Under 16 and Under 18 (If operated within the region)
Under 162002 and 2003 Can play up to Junior, Senior and Under 18 (If operated within the region)
Under 18 (If operated within the region)2000 and 2001 Can play up to Junior and Senior
Under 24 (JUNIOR) 1994 to 1999Can play up to Senior
SENIORS1993 to 1980CANNOT play up to Vets
MASTERS 1979 or before Can play down to Senior
NOTE 1 Players born in 2014 or after
cannot be insured through the BIPHA insurance

SEASON REVIEW 2017-2018

by Mike Vigar

Well another successful season at House of Sport has come to an end, and it has been the most competitive to date.

Congratulations to Caerphilly Hockey Club on taking the title in their first official season back in the Bipha South Wales league.
Their quality shone throughout the season and they are deserved champions who will be tough to beat at the nationals.
Also a big congratulations to Chris Thomas who is crowned top points scorer in his return season, helping Caerphilly to clinch that all important title.

Caerphilly dominated the points scoring table, but shoutouts should also go to the Newton brothers from Llantwit, Dan Clare from Panthers and Rob Green from Paignton who all racked up a lot of points.

It has been an exciting season with lots of close games, we've had last minute game tying goals, playoff-esque goalie pulls in the last minute with empty net goals (most famously when Llanishen inflicted Caerphilly's only defeat of the season) and teams taking points from each other up and down the league.
Panthers were consistent all season and finished second, with Llanishen third and Paignton fourth.
Crossbones had their best season yet, finishing fifth, whilst Swansea and Llantwit both took plenty of points and their positions don't reflect the quality of their play.

Most importantly, the league can't function without those that go the extra mile. A huge thank you to Graham, Sarah, Andrew and Tristan for timekeeping the vast majority of games, and a huge thanks to Dan Clare and J-Mac for reffing so many games, as well as Rich Brunnock, Sean Sokolyk, Jamie Hitchings, Fester, Mike Lucas, Owen and Dylan and Westy for reffing games too, the league really wouldn't happen without your extra effort.

Finally, we want to send our best wishes to those who are representing us at the Vets and Masters tournaments in Europe in the next few weeks. Ant Mundell, Steve Dickman and Lawrence James from Panthers are all heading out for the vets tournament, whilst Gibbo from Paignton is heading out to play in the masters with familiar faces Daniel Wood, Mike Newberry (as assistant captain) and James Morris from VCs.

All that is left to say in rounding off the season is thank you all for bringing hockey back to South Wales, and we hope to see you all again next season. If there are any teams struggling for players or goalies, let us know and we will help out where we can.