Wimbledon's Weir sweats on his World Cup fitness, while the club rue a disappointing finale

Ankle issue: Henry Weir of Wimbledon HC

Ankle issue: Henry Weir of Wimbledon HC

First published in Sport This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Wimbledon Hockey Club’s Henry Weir faces a race to be fit ahead of the World Cup in May.

The 24-year-old midfielder has missed the club’s MHL Premier Division run in, which ended on Sunday with a 5-4 home defeat to Sheffield Hallam for a sixth place finish, with an ankle injury.

And while player/coach Ben Marsden cited the injury as one of many factors that contributed to five straight defeats and a disappointing end to the season, he also recognised Weir’s personal agony.

“As a club we have achieved what we wanted, which was ultimately consolidation in the Premier League after promotion last season,” he said.

“But having pushed for the top four until the last five games and then falling away is disappointing.

"We have been trying to put our finger on what happened, and in the end it is a mixture of factors.

"We’ve had injuries at crucial times, which cost us. We missed Henry, which was not good for us, but is worse for him ahead of the World Cup [which starts in Holland on May 31]. It's touch and go whether he will make it.

"We lost our keeper Tom Millington for the end of the seaons, and we've had players who were not available, so we have been under-strength."

He aded: "If we're honest, we also took our foot off the pedal when we could no longer make the top four, which is disappointing.

"But we take positives from the bigger picture - we had some good wins on the road at Beeston and Reading, and to have been pushing for the top four is excellent.”

Marsden is already looking ahead to the new season, and while he knows players will leave over the summer, he is hopeful the club's status as the third biggest in the country will attract big names to Church Road.

He said: "We have more than 600 juniors at the club, nine mens' teams and eight women's teams.

"In terms of numbers, we're secondly only to Surbiton as number one and Reading.

"At the moment, the men's team has a good mix of age and ability, and we will need to maintain that when looking at new players over the summer."

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