Hockey: Doncaster in confident mood ahead of National League return

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Doncaster Hockey Club’s men are back among the elite - and this time they’re here to stay.

The Town Field club suffered relegation from Conference North of the England Hockey League in 2013 but celebrated an instant return by winning last season’s Northern Premier Division.

And newly-appointed head coach Alan Stoves is full of optimism ahead of the new season, which starts on Saturday.

“We’re in a better position with strength in depth than we were last time we were in this division,” said Stoves.

“We had a young squad last time, and we still have, but they’ve got that little bit extra experience now two years down the line.

“We’ve been training for a while now, we’ve been getting our fitness levels back up since mid-July.”

Stoves boasts some new recruits and insists his team are confident but not over-confident about the season ahead.

“I see my role as establishing the side back in the National League,” Stoves continued.

“We want to survive this year, but if we play to our potential, get off to a decent start and have some luck with injuries, we could push for the top half.

“It’s a tough league, we don’t underestimate it, we understand the challenge.

“But we’ve got half a dozen new players who fit the profile of the club.

“They’re talented and young, yet still have high level experience.”

Two of Doncaster’s new signings come in the shape of Australians Travis Cresswell and Vaughn Bowen, who were signed on the recommendation of former Doncaster player and World Cup winner Tim Deavin.

And Stoves hopes to get the two newcomers up to speed quickly, as they are due to arrive after the first two games of the season.

The new campaign kicks off on Saturday when Doncaster host newly-relegated Loughborough Students (2pm).

Doncaster Ladies begin their campaign the following week at home to Timperley.