In the world of sports, data analysis has become an integral part of optimising performance and achieving success. The 2022-2023 season has been one to remember for dozens of teams using PlayerData. From local clubs to university sides, these teams have clinched titles, cups, and promotions, while also experiencing significant improvements in physical performance. In this season’s recap, we celebrate the success of Bishop's Stortford, Hashtag United, Chatham Town, Cribbs FC, Dumbarton FC, Cardiff City Ladies, University of Stirling F.C. Mens, Hashtag Women, Spartans, Ascot United, Macclesfield FC, Kinloss Rugby Club, Darvel FC and many more. We will highlight their achievements and share some valuable insights gained from analysing their data.
Bishop's Stortford Football Club, the local team of our very own Jack Isherwood, emerged as the Premier Champions of the Isthmian League. This victory marks their first league title in 29 years and secures their promotion to the National League South after their relegation in 2018.
Throughout the season, Bishop's Stortford displayed impressive performance metrics that undoubtedly contributed to their success. The team demonstrated a remarkable work rate and commitment on the field, which ultimately helped deliver consecutive victories that solidified their position at the top of the table.
Hashtag United has had a sensational season, emerging as the champions of the Isthmian League North Division. Their extraordinary run of 21 consecutive wins from November to March is extraordinary by any standards.
One interesting metric from their season is their average distance covered per game, which stood at 9.3km, nearing the standards of top-tier professional teams. Despite facing a heavy congestion of games in December and January, with frequent Saturday and Monday fixtures, the players managed to maintain consistent physical metrics and even recorded season highs in total distance during this period.
January in particular was an outstanding month for Hashtag United when they secured four wins, having scored 18 goals while only conceding 3. This coincided with the second-highest average distance covered in a month, showcasing their exceptional fitness, which likely contributed to their dominance. Notably, in a match against Hullbridge Sports, the team had an average sprint distance of 138m.
In terms of individual performance, Percy Kiangebeni deserves a shout out. On November 19th, during a match against Grays Athletic, he recorded a top speed of 28.1kph and 4 sprints. Later in the season, on March 18th, in a match against Felixstowe and Walton, he achieved a top speed of 31.3kph and 6 sprints. This represents an 11% increase in top speed and a 50% increase in the number of sprints, highlighting the positive impact tracking and analysis can have on improving player performance.
Chatham Town successfully clinched the title in the Isthmian South East Division, securing them a place in the Isthmian Premier Division, just one tier below the national leagues.
Throughout the season, the team consistently covered an average distance of 7.9 kilometres per game. However, it was their final five games that proved crucial in their pursuit of the title. During this period, the players showcased their determination to secure promotion by increasing their average distance covered to 8.3 kilometres per game.
Notably, the team recorded impressive top speeds, with players like Ike Orji reaching speeds exceeding 30 kilometres per hour, while the team's average stood at 25 kilometres per hour. Such high-level top speeds have a significant impact on match performance. All else being equal, teams with faster players who can sprint more frequently tend to create more goal-scoring opportunities and exhibit stronger defensive recovery abilities.
"teams with faster players who can sprint more frequently tend to create more goal-scoring opportunities"
A special mention goes to Ashley Nzala, who joined the club in March and quickly became a valuable asset in the team's attacking arsenal. On March 3rd, he recorded 12 sprints and a top speed of 28.8 kilometres per hour. Comparatively, on April 22nd, he recorded 17 sprints and an increased top speed of 31.4 kilometres per hour - an impressive 41% increase in the number of sprints and a 9% increase in top speed over a six-week period.
Cribbs FC had an outstanding season, winning the Hellenic League and securing a place in the Southern League Division 1 next year. Their remarkable campaign saw them achieve centurion status, amassing 100 points and losing only 2 games. Notably, their defensive record was highly impressive, with the next closest team conceding double the number of goals compared to Cribbs. This highlights the team's defensive solidity and exceptional organisation.
March proved to be a pivotal period for Cribbs as they navigated a schedule filled with Wednesday and Saturday fixtures, requiring careful management of player fatigue and readiness. Nevertheless, Cribbs embarked on an impressive winning streak from mid-March to April, conceding only 2 goals while scoring 15 in the process. Interestingly, their average distance covered in these 5 games, 8.7 kilometres, was actually lower than their season average. This suggests that despite covering less ground, the team maintained defensive rigidity and exhibited efficient attacking prowess, showcasing the characteristics of a disciplined title-winning team.
Another intriguing observation is that in matches where Cribbs won by larger margins, their average numbers for sprints, distance covered, top speed, and high-intensity events were actually lower compared to matches where they won by smaller margins. This coincided with a decrease in total distance covered. This suggests that when facing relatively weaker opposition, the team relied more on tactical discipline, efficient match play, and technical superiority to secure victories.
"when facing relatively weaker opposition, the team relied more on tactical discipline, efficient match play, and technical superiority to secure victories"
Jacob Hodgson emerged as a standout performer. Having played in the first game in which the team started using PlayerData, his data is particularly interesting. Although there was a reduction in his recorded top speed towards the end of the season, his high-intensity running distance and sprint distance increased by 35% and 44% respectively. This is the type of output from players that is necessary to clinch titles during the business end of the season.
Dumbarton FC is currently competing in the Scottish League Two and finished the league in second place. They had an impressive start to the season, being the only team in British senior football with a 100% win record by the end of September.
On average, Dumbarton’s players covered a total distance of 7.1km per game, with the highest recorded top speed consistently achieved by Finlay Gray, exceeding 30kph, which are top-flight professional numbers. Analysing Dumbarton's data throughout the season, in games that were won, the team covered an average total distance of 7.1km, with an average max speed of 25.4kph. The average sprint distance during these games was 76m, and the average high-intensity runs amounted to 308m.
In comparison, in games that resulted in a loss, the team's average total distance remained similar at 7km. However, the average top speed increased to 26kph, and the average high-intensity runs reached 317m. These metrics suggest that games in which Dumbarton experienced a loss were played at a higher intensity than the games they won.
It's onwards and upwards for Dumbarton, and we're confident that the fans will be excited for another title charge in the upcoming season.
Cardiff City Ladies went on a compelling run in the Women's FA Cup, defying the odds as the only 4th-tier team remaining in the competition, while every other club competed in the top two divisions - a true showing of their quality and determination. Nonetheless, they deservedly won the FAWNL South West league, securing them a return to Tier Three.
As the season progressed, Cardiff City Ladies saw an increase of around 1km in their average distance covered, coinciding with an unbeaten run from January 22nd until the end of the season, dropping only 2 points during this period. They also had an impressive unbeaten run from August to December, not dropping any points in the league.
During these successful periods on the pitch, the players demonstrated remarkable consistency in maintaining their top speeds, with Ellie Sargent and Caitlin Williams standing out in this category. In football, especially towards the end of the season, it is crucial for a team to sustain their intensity levels when facing opponents who are fighting for various achievements such as promotion, title contention, or avoiding relegation.
Ellie Sargent's physical statistics deserve special mention as she consistently covered the most distance, achieved the highest speed, and recorded the highest number of sprints throughout the season. Such exceptional contributions are essential for a team aiming to mount a serious title challenge.
The team made history early in the season, becoming the first university side in over 50 years to reach the last 32 of the Scottish Cup, despite eventually losing to Premiership side Dundee United. They finished a commendable 4th in the Lowland League, displaying strong league form.
The team consistently covered an impressive average distance of 9.3km per game, approaching professional levels. Throughout the season, they consistently exceeded their average distance covered, often by up to 0.5km. This reflects their high-energy style of play, which proved effective in winning games. Several players consistently covered between 10-11km per game, comparable to players in the top divisions. This level of fitness was crucial in coping with the demanding schedule of fixtures in both the Lowland League and BUCS League, with matches taking place twice a week.
"Several players consistently covered between 10-11km per game, comparable to players in the top divisions."
Their ability to make each game's distance covered impactful was evident, with players regularly recording nearly 1km of high-intensity running distance and close to 300m of sprint distance. However, in the fixture against Dundee United, the players covered less distance and made fewer sprints - from which a number of conclusions can be made.
Matty Burrows' physical metrics stood out in particular. In the first match, he covered 7.63km in distance, had 84m of high-intensity runs, and reached a top speed of 22.8kph. As the season progressed, his metrics steadily improved. By the 38th match, he covered 9.85km in distance, recorded 186m of high-intensity running, and achieved a top speed of 26.5kph. Matty showcased improvement in every metric throughout the season, with a significant 54% jump in high-intensity runs, demonstrating his commitment to progress and the potential of PlayerData to keep players accountable for their development.
Hashtag Women completed a brilliant season, clinching the league title in the FAWNL South East with an impressive record of 16 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss. Following their only loss of the season, Hashtag Women went on an unbeaten run from March 5th to April 30th, scoring 31 goals while conceding only 2 in seven games. They will be competing in Tier 3 next campaign.
The club can be proud of their performance in the FA Cup and FAWNL Cup, reaching the 4th and 2nd rounds respectively. Notably, in their 2nd round FA Cup match against Watford, they covered an average distance of 12.5km, with two players surpassing 14km. Several players consistently exceeded the squad's average distance by over 2km per week, often exceeding 10km, which is comparable to players competing in higher tiers. Their consistent ability to cover great distances was undoubtedly instrumental in their league dominance.
Among the standout players, Malika Apindia and Hayley West deserve honourable mention for their explosiveness and average distance covered, respectively. However, Emma Samways' numbers truly capture one's attention...
In Game 1, Emma covered 9.57km, including 329m of high-intensity runs and 238m in sprint distance, recording a total of 6 sprints.
In Game 11, Emma covered 9.49km, including 455m of high-intensity runs and 350m in sprint distance, with a total of 18 sprints recorded.
While Emma's overall distance covered per game did not improve, the intensity of her running certainly did. There was a 39% increase in high-intensity runs, a 48% increase in sprint distance, and an exceptional 200% increase in the number of sprints she performed. Such development is truly remarkable.
In addition to the teams mentioned above, there were many other clubs that had stellar seasons. Let’s begin with Darvel FC. As one of PlayerData's founding clubs, we were extremely proud of their run in the Scottish Cup, where they knocked out Premiership side Aberdeen in one of the biggest upsets in Scottish Cup history. With 56 places and 6 leagues separating the two sides, and an awe-inspiring pre-match speech by Darvel manager Mick Kennedy, the post-match scenes were suitably terrific.
Next, we have Heriot-Watt Men's 1st XI, who were crowned Scottish 1A champions for the first time in 16 years. This triumph followed their victory in the 2022 King Cup. The team's achievements extended beyond the league title, as they won the British Playoff North and secured promotion to Division 1 in the EOSFL. What an outstanding year for the players and coaching staff - a massive congratulations to all involved!
This was followed up by Macclesfield FC who were crowned Northern Premier League West Division Champions, making it back-to-back promotions, celebrated in front of 4,701 supporters.
Kinloss Rugby Club has been on an upward trajectory, achieving remarkable success in the past 12 months. They won the Army Sapper Cup in 2022, emerged victorious in the Caledonian Regional Bowl earlier this year, and clinched the North Caley 3 title, earning a promotion to Division 2. They were then victorious in their first-ever appearance in the National Bowl, securing a quadruple - a truly remarkable achievement.
A flurry of teams found glory soon after. Starting with the Clydebank U18s, who triumphed in the Scottish Youth FA Cup, entertaining a brilliant crowd. Johnstone Burgh AFC claimed the GGPAFL Division 2 Championship, and The Spartans reached the Pyramid Play-Off Final, ultimately emerging as winners and securing their first-ever promotion to the SPFL. Grays Athletic FC U14 Girls' JPS lifted the JPL Trophy, Chatham Town FC became champions of the Isthmian South East, and Ashfield FC secured promotion to the West of Scotland Football League Division 1. The celebrations continued as the St. Cadocs Seniors secured promotion, Torquay United Women became the WWRFL Premier Champions, and a dramatic penalty shootout saw Airdrieonians FC clinch promotion to the Championship. In their first appearance at Wembley Stadium, Ascot United FC emerged as winners of the FA Vase, building upon their success as Premier Division North Champions. And lastly, we saw Dunbar United crowned East of Scotland First Division champions.
Overall, it has been an incredible year for these teams, marked by remarkable historic and unforgettable moments.
The success stories of Bishop Stortford, Hashtag United, Chatham Town, Cribbs FC, Dumbarton FC, Cardiff City Ladies, Stirling University Men's, and Hashtag Women highlight the transformative impact of PlayerData's tracking technology. By leveraging the power of data analysis, these teams have been triumphant, securing league titles, promotions, and going on historic cup runs. As these teams and others celebrate their accomplishments, they inspire us with their dedication and determination to the sport, setting the stage for future seasons of even greater achievements. We can't wait to see what the season ahead will bring!