On Tuesday the 7th of October the girls first team travelled to Worth to take part in their 7-a-side tournament. After last weeks game against Cumnor in which we lost, but played some fantastic hockey, the girls were confident and ready to go.
The tournament consisted of 2 pools, with 5 teams in each pool. We were placed in pool A along with Christ’s Hospital ‘A’, Brighton College, Burgess Hill ‘B’ and Ashdown House. We started strong in the first match winning 2-0 against Burgess Hill ‘B’, with Amber and Charlotte scoring a goal each. The slower pace of the first game helped the girls to gain some confidence and get a feel for the pitch before facing some tougher opposition.
The second had us against Christ’s Hospital ‘A’ which proved to be a tougher match. We dominated the game however and moved the ball around the pitch very well. Unfortunately we were not able to convert the many chances we had on goal which started to put us under some pressure. Jemima then scored an absolute screamer of a goal out of the blue to take the girls to a 1-0 win.
Our 3rd match was against Brighton College. This was the highlight of the afternoon, as everything seemed to click in this game, and we played some fantastic expansive hockey. Amber scored the first goal in open play to take us to an early lead, and not long afterwards she was able to find the back of the net again from a short corner to take us 2-0 up. With only a few minutes to go the girls could play with a bit more freedom and found themselves constantly on the attack. Some quick thinking from Harriet from a long corner saw her drive the ball into the D with the opposition half asleep and fire a pass across the goal, much to the delight of Jemima who gladly tipped the ball in to take the end score to a 3-0 win.
The last match in the pool stages was v Ashdown House. We played some good hockey and had plenty of chances throughout the game but struggled to convert. Amber was however able to latch onto a through ball with some great reverse stick receiving skills and found the bottom left corner of the goal with a well directed shot. This was how the game ended, and we won 1-0.
A fantastic set of games had taken us to the top of our pool, as we had won every game and didn’t concede a goal in any match. A top effort from all the girls, and a special mention must go to Jemima Scott who had her first taste of first team hockey in year 6 and kept a clean sheet. A fantastic achievement!!
Now out of the pool matches, our semi final was against Worth. For the first time the girls had a very shaky start to the match, and we did well not to concede in the first 5 minutes. Once the girls had calmed down, they started to find their feet, however energy was evidently low and we were struggling to make yards up and down the pitch. We had several attacking chances, but were not able to convert. A counter attack from Worth then gave them the first goal of the match with a cracking reverse stick shot from a very talented little one of theirs. We tried hard for the rest of the game and had a few more half chances but just couldn’t find the back of the net. End score, 1-0 loss.
This then took us to a 3rd – 4th playoff with Ashdown House. Again we had more than our fair share of chances but it seemed that tired legs and minds were getting the better of us. The end score was 0-0 which took us to penalty shuffles. The way in which this works, is 3 players are chosen from each team. One at a time they attempt to run the ball from the half way line and score when they get into the D. They have 8 seconds to try and score. The goal keeper must try and save the goal. Teams go
alternatively. This is a very tough way of deciding a game and sometimes can feel unfair. Unfortunately it was Ashdown that managed to score twice and they emerged victors.
A really tough end to the day, and the girls were very disappointed, but an absolutely fantastic display of hockey for the
majority of the day. The girls demonstrated that they can move the ball around the pitch with ease, as well as control the ball under pressure. We are starting to understand more of the technicalities of the game and this will give us an edge on many teams. But most importantly I think we played some of the best positional hockey there. Many of the teams were very happy to hit the ball up the middle of the pitch and rely on a lucky pick up from a striker. We were able to build out attack from the back, which is an imperative skill. Unfortunately, sometimes at junior school level, the hit it down the middle approach does bring more goals, however the girls never learn what it means to play as a team and they struggle to understand positional play when they get into higher age groups. The way that we are moving forward is the right way in my mind and I think the girls will benefit more from it.
Awards of the day from the end ceremony had Harriet Pratt winning player of the tournament.
A great display of leadership and hard work on the pitch. Well done Harriet!
Well done girls, a great day out and some superb hockey to go with it! DH
Team: Charlotte (Capt), Harriet, Liliana, Jemima, Karina, Elise, Amber, Alice & Jemima Scott (GK)