The women's 1st team wider training squad have been training ever since England Hockey and Broadwater School allowed us back on the pitch.
Head Coach Shay O'Connell created some imaginative training routines when we were able to only train in pairs; this then evolved into groups of 6. The enthusiasm from everyone was great, and some nights we were running three sessions to accommodate all the players - which was harder work for Shay and Team Manager Andrew than it was for the players!!
In addition to stick on ball training, fitness training has been introduced and the team now have Ciaran O’Connell as the team's fitness coach. Ciaran is providing a fitness programme, details on nutrition for the team to follow (not sure that one is being followed religiously!!). At the beginning of August, the team had fitness tests and these will be repeated at Christmas in order to track progress.
The squad should have had a break in early August, but the core 1st XI players decided that they wanted to continue and asked GHC Men's 1st tem player Ross Fergusson to take them for a session. This was the first week of England Hockey's Return to Play: Step 4 (out of 5 steps) and the ladies relished being able to play “competitively”.
Pre-season games were going to be a challenge as not only were the ladies looking to build a new team for the 2020/21 league, but also needed to ensure that the 2019/20 cup squad was training ahead of their semi final in the Tier 2 Cup competition.
GHC v Woking
So, to the first friendly, Wednesday evening under lights against Woking. This was the first opportunity to see some of the new players that have been training with the squad. It was quite a one-sided game and the team came away scoring 9 goals and not conceding any!
GHC v Fareham
Our second game was against Fareham who had been promoted to South Division 2 at the end of 2019/20 and were looking to be stiffer competition than Woking. For this game Guildford fielded their EH Cup squad. Guildford came out of the blocks very hard and you would have hardly noticed that they had not played together for 6 months. This turned out to be even more one sided than the Woking game, Guildford put 13 past the visitors.
GHC v Haslemere
Guildford’s third game was away at Haslemere, most of the senior players were rested and this gave an opportunity for all the new players and the team's younger, regular players to take on the South Div 3 team. After a fairly even start the Guildford team grew in confidence and took the lead. GHC then dominated the game giving Haslemere little opportunity to attack and eventually ran out 4 – 0 winners. A great account for a team that had not played together before.
And so pre-season ended with 26 goals scored and none conceded!