The Girls U10s hosted a return fixture against Teddington, who brought 4 teams to play us on what turned out to be a blustery but (mainly) sunny day. Over 30 Guildford girls played including our 3 new U9 goalies that started with Adrian after Christmas. These were Ellie F, Milli W and Emma M’s first matches and they played for both Teddington and GHC on the quarter pitch games with huge enthusiasm. We look forward to them becoming our young Maddie Hinch’s for next season...
Coach Tony Smith
Hannah L (G), Darcy I, Imogen L, Aimee S, Sasha P, Annabelle G, Emily B, Emily H
After so much rain over recent weeks, what a pleasure it was to play in the dry again, well, for an hour at least! The Meerkats responded with a strong performance against Teddington ‘A’, a decent team who we had just managed a draw against in the tournament before Xmas. We were a little slow at the start of the game, and Teddington had a couple of good players in midfield who put us under pressure. They drove forward and gained a penalty corner in the opening minutes after a foot in the D. Fortunately, it came to nothing and we began to sharpen up and put them under pressure. With Darcy firing the ball upfield with her big slap and Aimee driving hard up the right wing, we got lots of possession in their D. Time and time again, the shots went in, but were either a little weak, or directed down the middle at the goalkeeper. Finally, a little touch of skill from Sasha, a reverse stick flick into the net, got us the 1-0 win we deserved.
By the time we played Teddington A team again, we had increased our pace and urgency, but had lost some of the width. We never really looked in danger, but again, our finishing could have been better, until Emily managed to win the game with a nice shot from close in. In between the games against Teddington, the Guildford Meerkats played the Guildford Gazelles. All credit to both teams for a hard-fought, entertaining match. The Gazelles battled hard, but the greater experience and pace of the Meerkats told in the end, and they took a 4-0 win, with goals coming from Sasha, Aimee and Annabelle (2). The final goal was a lesson we can all learn from. Do not stop until the whistle is blown!
In the Surreys, we will need to be at the top of our game from the word "go". The matches are short and goals are crucial. We can take some confidence from the fact we have beaten strong teams in recent weeks, but we need to convert more of the many chances we are creating. Roll up on Friday night for some shooting practice!
Coach Mark Lenel
Jocelyn R (G), Isla A, Lauren C, Millie J, Ottalie T, Freya W, Georgia W
I was thoroughly delighted with the performance of the girls in the ‘B’ team on Sunday’s round-robin against Teddington ‘A’. With just the bare minimum of seven players – no substitutes – everyone had their position on the field and their own part to play in the team. Every single member of the team delivered exactly as they were asked. Jocie in goal made some fine saves. Isla, Ottalie and Millie took their turns in defence and demonstrated plenty of confidence to put in the tackles when required. Georgia and Freya played midfield for all of the matches and put in so much effort to track the play up and down the field. Lastly but not least, Lauren played a pivotal attacking role to drive the ball upfield.
Our only goal came from a short corner in our second game against Teddington ‘A’s; Georgia had the presence of mind to receive Lauren’s push-out and take it out of the circle before touching it in and striking it. Ottalie was positioned well to make an instinctive deflection into the corner of the goal. The girls should take confidence that their efforts can and will be rewarded eventually!
Whilst there are lesson to learn and areas for improvement which we will cover in training, and even though this was our only score from all three games, on balance this was a fine performance from the entire team. There was really solid defending at the back; there was good linking play through the midfield; and we made plenty of attacking runs against the opposition. Most importantly the girls played with a great, positive, enjoyable attitude, they responded to my coaching instructions, and they tried really, really hard.
Coach Sophie Sherman
Grace A, Lily C, Lucy C, Rosie L, Bonnie P, Jessica P, Martha R, Mimi S
Playing quarter pitches: Drew 2, Lost 2
A great few games had by the Red bib team. With 2 draws and 2 small losses I was very happy with their performance and loved seeing the girl's enthusiasm throughout!
Lilly and Mimi at the back kept Teddington at bay for a long time, batting and clearing the ball out of the D and keeping their sticks down and ready for oncoming forwards.
Martha played in midfield, covering most of the pitch for each match playing some great free hits and even some shots at goal, never tiring! Rosie played mid and forward, after some guidance, I was impressed to see Rosie got her eyes up when she had the ball and got the ball to the players she wanted with great control. Lucy played mid and forward using lovely skills in passing and getting the ball to the forwards for them to run with. Jess and Grace made some fantastic runs down the middle of the pitch and attempting shots at goal, but missing so narrowly! Bonnie in her first match was a valuable forward also taking the ball down the wings and passing in when she wasn't being mobbed by Teddington!
We ended up having 2 goalies, Milly and Ellie, both played really well in stopping and kicking the balls out and keeping Teddington fighting hard. A really great effort by all players who all seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Well done all.
Coach Robert Manning
Maisy A, Clara D, Eleanor F, Zara F, Juliet F, Lucy T, Eve M
Playing quarter pitches: Won 2, Drew 1, Lost 1
Probably the slightly stronger of the two mixed ability teams, the girls had to face Teddington’s B team twice, as well as Teddington’s Jaguars and Pumas teams.
We mainly kept to specific positions within the team so that the girls could become more familiar with positional play. We certainly played our best hockey when they trusted their team mates and stuck to these positions instead of being sucked into the middle, where Teddington were massed.
Eleanor played a superb game in defence with very strong clearances and 16’s up field whilst Lucy and Juliet once again offered targets out wide. When we did get the ball out wide we found the room to attack and the time to look up and make a good pass.
The girls drew and then lost a close game to Teddington ‘B’, showing that they were not outclassed. The games against the other Teddington sides were more comfortable with Zara and Clara putting in solid tackles at the back in support of Eleanor, Eve was working as hard as ever in midfield, tracking back and breaking forward without tiring. Maisy was our disciplined point player for a couple of matches but disappointingly we did not get the ball to her enough to give her the chance to score. With more match experience the girls will learn to glance up and make the pass more often than trying to bash through.
Most importantly, they all seemed to enjoy themselves and, as usual, I felt we played with more determination as a team, which is often the greatest advantage.