11:59AM, Tuesday 13 April 2021
Maidenhead men’s captain Phil Cowell believes the first team could be promoted to a new South Central Premier Division this summer with England Hockey set to undertake a major restructure this summer.
England Hockey agreed at its AGM to restructure the levels below the National Premier, creating four National Conference levels across the country instead of three. To do this they’ll scrap South Premier Division 1 and South Premier Division 2 East and West and teams will be shuffled about to make up the numbers in the new league.
Cowell has heard rumours that Maidenhead and Henley are set to be moved up a division into the new league based on where they finished in the 2019/20 MBBO Premier Division 2 West season. Effectively, they will be playing a level above their current one and could come up against South Premier Division 1 sides such as Milton Keynes 1sts, Banbury 1sts, Oxford University 1sts, Winchester and Southampton Trojans. However, Cowell was keen to stress that nothing had been confirmed to the club as yet.
“The leagues are being reformed,” he said. “So, there’s going to be no South Premier 1 and no South Premier 2 divisions anymore.
“You have the National Premier and the three National Conference divisions below that, and the plan is to add in a fourth division at that level.
“Teams will be shuffled around from the South Premier 1 and the South Premier 2 into this new league which will be known as the South Central Premier League.
“I haven’t been told anything officially, but the Henley captain has said that our teams will be in this league from next season. Effectively, it’s a league above. They’re basing it on last season’s finish, and the teams that finished higher in the league last season will then be mixed in with some of the South Premier 1 sides such as Milton Keynes 1sts, Banbury 1sts, Oxford Uni 1st, Winchester are in there and the Southampton Trojans.
“But again, this is speculation from the Henley captain. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon.
“They’re going ahead with the restructure; it was voted through at the last England Hockey AGM.
“They’ve agreed to the changes and now we’re just waiting to see if that’s the league we’ll be in.”