BURY Hockey Club’s men’s team got their 2014-2015 pre-season campaign off to a disappointing start at Winnington Park on Saturday.
The newly-promoted Division Three North side, who celebrated winning the Preston Summer League last week, took only 15 players for their double-header.
The first team were without nine regulars while the seconds were missing seven as they went down 5-3 to Winnington’s fourth string.
Bury will play friendlies against Sale, Wilmslow and Bolton before opening their winter campaign with a trip to Carlisle on September 20.
This season marks a milestone for the club as the men’s section celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Originally set up in the summer of 2004 as Bury Grammar School Old Boys Hockey Club, the first team secured their sixth promotion in 10 years last season as they climbed from their starting position in Division 10 North up to Division Three North for the forthcoming season, all under the guidance of captain Tariq Sheikh.
There have been some impressive team and individual performances in the last 10 years, including four title-winning seasons and back-to-back undefeated campaigns throughout the 2009/10 and 2010/11 league seasons.
Individually, James Oakes had an outstanding season last time out, ending as the top scorer in the North West with 51 goals, while partner Luke Fidler, who has joined Manchester giants Urmston for the new season, amassed a total of 178 goals in his six seasons.
The two prolific strikers help to create club history as Bury recorded their best ever goalscoring season in 2013/14 with 120 goals over the course of the league season.
Goalkeeper David Heaton wrote his name into the club records conceding just nine goals throughout the 2009/10 season, while first team captain Sheikh holds the club record for appearances, having missed just one league game in 10 years.
With the club now expanding to include a second men’s team, under the captaincy of Danny Quin, as well as merging to include a ladies’ section and junior club, the future looks bright for hockey in Bury.
All three sections are looking for new members, and can be contacted via the club’s website at www.pitchero.com/clubs/ buryhockeyclub.