Teams from Newcastle to Newquay are set to kick off their national knockout adventures from 28 October, with the 126 ties in the first round of the Tier 1 to Tier 4 England Hockey Championship draws now published.
Men’s T1 Holders Old Georgians begin their quest to retain their title with an away trip to Oxted, whilst beaten 2023 finalists Beeston can enjoy home advantage against fellow Midlanders, Harborne.
Current Women’s T1 Champions Beeston find themselves travelling south to Oxford Hawks and their counterparts from last season’s final, Guildford, will host Old Georgians in their first-round tie.
Men’s T2 Champions, Tunbridge Wells, who beat Leek in a 4-3 thriller in the final in May, face a short trip to Sevenoaks as they get their 2023-24 campaign underway whilst Leek travel north to Neston as they attempt to go one better than last season. Cambridge will be writing postcards from Jersey, whilst Guernsey LBG will be waiting in arrivals for Hampton-in-Arden for their first-round tie. *Because of the presence of non-mainland teams, Round 2 has also been drawn.
There will be a new name on the Women’s T2 trophy this season with the absence of holders Repton and finalists Old Georgians both now playing in EHL, it will be an all-new final come May 2024. However, reigning T3 Champions, the British Army, face a new test in T2 and will begin their Championships campaign with a home tie to Havant. In an effort to assist non-mainland teams and teams drawn against them, the second-round draw has also taken place with Jersey and the Isle of Man both ready to welcome London Edwardians and Timperley 2s respectively on the 16 December.
Beeston 3s, still buzzing from last season’s dominant 6-0 display in the Men’s Tier 3 final against London Edwardians, will be ‘flying’ over to Loughborough Town 2s to begin the defence of their title and beaten T4 finalists from last season, Devonport Services, will be facing a tougher test in this higher tier and start their knockout campaign with an away trip to Clifton Robinsons 4s.
Over in Women’s Tier 3, we’re again looking at new champions with the absence of the British Army who beat Reading 3s 2-0 in last year’s final. Again, with non-mainland teams involved in WT3, round 2 has also been drawn and it is Ashford (Middlesex) who will be hot-footing it to Gatwick airport for their trip over the channel to Guernsey on 16 December.
In Men’s Tier 4, given the number of byes required to get down the last 32, Rounds 1 and 2 have been drawn to allow teams involved in byes to get ahead in planning for Round 2. Holders Tower Hamlets, who took the final to strokes against Devonport Services and came out victorious, have been handed a bye in Round 1 but will face an away trip to East London to get the party started this year, whilst, in Women’s Tier 4, it will again be a new engraving on the trophy with winners Spencer 6s not featuring. There are 30 ties in the first round with Buxton 1 and Melton 1 being the two teams to receive a pass into Round 2.
The Masters and Mixed Championships draws will be announced shortly.