On Sunday, September 24th, Lincoln’s Lindum Hockey Club head into their first game of the new season. They’re competing in a division higher than any club in Lincolnshire ever have.

Lindum, who play their games at St. Giles Avenue, Lincoln, start their England Hockey Conference North season at home to Belper Hockey Club. The league is hockey’s third tier, as Lindum secured promotion last season.

Ahead of the new season, LincSport spoke to Lindum’s Director of Hockey, 1st XI player-coach, Matt Bell. 

He said: “We aren’t going into the season to think about relegation. It’s about going as far as we can. We have an internal expectation of finishing in the top three.”

Matt saw last season’s promotion as only a matter of time, as they narrowly missed out on promotion a couple of seasons ago.

They did just that last season as they cruised to promotion from the Yorkshire & North East Premier Division, winning the league by a massive 17 points. 

Matt said: “We’ve been preparing for this for the past two years. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

He added: “Top three isn’t out of the question, but it’s a difficult league. You almost need a perfect record to finish top.”

Only the top placed team is promoted to English hockey’s second tier. So, it will be a season of tough competition for Lindum as they face the likes of Timperley and Wakefield. 

However, Matt thinks that his team has the potential to surprise a few teams.

Lincoln Hockey Club in action
Lindum in action. Credit: Cheryl Emmins

“We are one of the biggest sports clubs in Lincoln.”

He also believes the upcoming season will help grow the club. He told LincSport: “We are one of the biggest sports clubs in Lincoln and there are selling points across the club.”

Lindum Hockey Club’s promotion last season was equaled by the Lindum Cricket Club over the summer as their 1st XI won the Lincolnshire Premier Division. 

Matt, who plays both cricket and hockey for Lindum, was impressed by Rob Cook’s captaincy of the cricket team. He said: “It’s been a good thing for me to see how someone else does it.”

With the season just a few days away, Matt is very happy with the squad he has at his disposal. “The core group is still around, but we’ve added a few from other regions. We’ve reinforced and created genuine selection battles.”

As Lindum are competing at a nationwide level, Matt expects more people to watch the games this season. “I expect a few more people to come down. The club is trying to make an event of the games.”

Matt described the game as very fast, and one where a couple of passes can take the ball from one side to the other. He has high hopes for the new season both on and off the field for Lindum Hockey Club.

The season begins at 2pm on Sunday, September 24th, as Derbyshire’s Belper Hockey Club travel to Lincolnshire to face the league’s newest side.