River Sport takes a look at the four Kingston sports teams who finished top of their leagues this season.
Four Kingston University sports teams finished top of their tables, as the winter season drew to a close over the past fortnight.
Men’s badminton firsts and women’s hockey firsts had already won their leagues before their closing fixtures, but it took final day victories for men and women’s football sides to secure the title.
They were aided by the unfortunate circumstance of Surrey’s keeper falling down the stairs and having to be replaced by central midfielder Nicole Robinson, but the champions elect were faster and stronger all over the park.
Head coach Sam Merison doused his players with champagne following the final whistle and was keen to recognise his side’s achievement.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “We are promoted to division one now and, for a university as small as Kingston, that is a big deal.”
It was a little closer in Buckinghamshire as the curtain came down on a fantastic season for KU’s men’s first XI.
Like the ladies, they needed just a point to secure top spot and, like the ladies, they went one better to take all three points on their travels, beating Bucks 1-0.
Gareth Chendlik’s 35th minute strike was enough after Kofi Wiredu was denied by the host keeper, and captain Sam Gordon dubbed his side “a team of winners”.
“I’m so proud of all the players who played and trained hard to improve,” said Gordon. “I feel we have deserved promotion, and I think our desire to play football in a positive way makes us the best team in the league.
“It’s been an exciting season. As captain it is great to see players that enjoy playing for each other.”
Despite the disappointment of not winning their final fixture, the KU ladies finished the season six points clear of closest rivals Brighton and Stephanie Chichowska was elated with her side’s table-topping season.
“We are absolutely ecstatic,” she said. “Coming from losing, feeling defeated and relegated last year to not losing any games is amazing.
“We rocked up with a good attitude this year with really keen players on our team.”
KU’s final table topping side, the men’s badminton first team, also won their league at a canter, finishing six points clear of Brunel after dropping points in just one of their fixtures.
Our boys have already proven that they are comfortable playing at a higher level by beating Imperial, then two leagues above Kingston, in this year’s cup competition.
“It has been a good year,” said president and first team captain Kiran Ragupathy. “It is nice to finish university on a high note.” He added.