By Graham Thomas
Alf Dinnie intends to create a fourth slice of Welsh hockey history on Saturday night.
The Wales international was part of the Cardiff and Met team as they became the first Welsh men’s club to play in the English Premier Division two weeks ago.
Dinnie then became the first scorer for a Welsh club at the top level when he netted in the 4-1 defeat to Southgate in Cardiff.
That setback was quickly overturned with a first away win – 3-2 at Reading last week – and this weekend Dinnie and his teammates will bid for a first home win when they host Oxted.
“It was great to score the first goal and make a bit of history – especially as I’m not exactly renowned for being a prolific scorer,” says Dinnie.
“There was a big, noisy crowd at Sophia Gardens and the scoreline didn’t really reflect the competitiveness of the game.
“The game and the goal, though, are historical milestones for the club and this is definitely a ground-breaking season for us.”
Cardiff’s first ever goal in the Premier League was scored by @ADinnie5!
Thanks to Southgate for a great game and to the huge home crowd who turned out in full force! #SaturdayNightLights
— Cardiff & Met HC (@Cardiff_Hockey) September 17, 2023
If Dinnie wasn’t fully aware of the significance of his goal at the time, the Wales international was made certain of it later in the evening, when his effort was toasted in the Brewhouse pub, next door.
“There were a few former players and real club legends celebrating with us, which will be a nice memory to have.”
Another landmark can be achieved on Saturday evening if Cardiff and Met taste success at home for the first time against Oxted.
The Surrey club have also begun the season with one victory and one defeat and currently lay in ninth-place in the 12-team table, one place below Cardiff.
Huge win for Cardiff tonight! They are off the mark in their first season in the Premiership!
Congrats all https://t.co/TaoGrqxh7P
— Hockey Wales (@HockeyWales) September 23, 2023
They started their campaign with a 3-2 win at East Grinstead, but were thumped 4-0 at home last week against Wimbledon.
Oxted are in their third season in the Premier League and Dinnie believes it takes all clubs a while to adjust to life in the top tier of the domestic game.
“It is definitely a step up in terms of consistency and intensity,” adds Dinnie.
“If you have a poor quarter, or even a poor five minutes, then you can end up being punished for that and find yourself a few goals down.”
Dinnie not only carries the Met name on his badge, he is also employed at the university as a lecturer in performance analysis.
The experienced defender also coaches the university’s women’s first team who play in the BUCS competition and is well-placed to assess the synergy between Wales’ leading hockey club and its most prominent university when it comes to sport.
“There are a few of us at the club who studied at Cardiff Met and have gone on to get employment there.
“Since the merger of the club side with the university, we have been able to develop hockey and that’s been really integral for both the club and the university.
“It means we have quality people in Welsh hockey, not just as players but as coaches, umpires, strength and conditioning, through to the students who run our administration of events and social media.
“It’s been really important as it gives a fresh look to the club as we have an influx of new, talented people every year.”
🚨Super Saturdays are here🚨
30th September get yourself down to WIS🏑
Alternatively you can watch our Ladies’ 1s and Men’s 1s on the livestream this week 😍
— Cardiff & Met HC (@Cardiff_Hockey) September 26, 2023
Saturday at Sophia Gardens now offers a double-header for hockey fans, with Cardiff and Met’s women’s first team hosting Gwent Hockey Club at 4.00pm in the English West Area Women’s Premier.
That match will be followed by the men’s Cardiff and Met fixture against Oxted, starting at 6.00pm with both matches available on live stream on YouTube.
Also in action this weekend in West Women’s Premier are Cardiff University Women who host University of Bristol at 12.30 at Talybont 3G pitch in Cardiff.
In the higher tier of the Vitality Women’s Division 1 North, Swansea University are away to Wakefield, hoping to make amends after losing the season-opener at home to Durham University, 2-0, last weekend.
Closer to home, in the South Wales Women’s League, Premier 1, Cardiff and Met Ladies 2s host Howardian Ladies 1s, Cardiff University Ladies 2s are at home to Cardiff and Met Ladies 3s, Swansea Ladies 2s entertain Gwent Ladies 2s, Swansea Ladies 3s welcome Penarth Ladies 2s and Whitchurch Saints 1s are in action at home to Llandysul Ladies 1s.
Both the Men's 1's and Ladies 2's are home this weekend at 12:00 and 14:00 so come along to support! 💪
We wish the teams the best of luck with the games🏑 pic.twitter.com/zHQBCc29FJ
— Swansea Hockey Club (@SwanseaHC) September 29, 2023
Men’s English Premier Division
Cardiff and Met v Oxted
Vitality Women’s Division 1 North
Wakefield v Swansea
West Women’s Premier
Cardiff University Women 1 v University of Bristol 1 (12.30)
Cardiff and Met 1 v Gwent 1 (4.00)
South Wales Women’s League Premier 1
Cardiff & Met Ladies 2s v Howardian Ladies 1s
Cardiff University Ladies 2s v Cardiff & Met Ladies 3s
Swansea Ladies 2s v Gwent Ladies 2s
Swansea Ladies 3s v Penarth Ladies 2s
Whitchurch Saints 1s v Llandysul Ladies 1s