The Under 10 Girls’ ‘A Team’ had a terrifically successful day at the annual Canterbury HC invitational on Sunday. The standard was expected to be very high with Canterbury themselves entering two teams, Holcombe, Sevenoaks and our local rivals Surbiton also in attendance. In total there were nine teams in our age group which meant the girls played tonnes of games over the course of a very long and tiring day...
Knowing from bitter experience that the opening game of a tournament can colour the girls attitude for subsequent matches, we were fearful of playing Holcombe first up, especially as they had already had a warm-up game at the very start of the day. However, our fears were unfounded, and it wasn’t long before our stock trio of Emily B, Emily H and Sasha were driving forward into the opponents’ circle and slamming home five goals – a terrific start to the day!
Old Loughtonians were a tougher nut to crack, and our defensive set (Poppy in goal, Darcy, Imogen and Annabelle sharing the positions at the back of the pitch) had their work cut out to repel numerous attacks. However it was Emily B who eventually took the one and only winning goal, enough to secure three points for the team.
Sevenoaks and Surbiton proved the hardest games of the whole day. Sevenoaks – winners of their Kent County Cup competition – opened the scoring early on, but after a few nail-biting minutes Sasha found a reply, and a one-all draw earned us two more points for a score draw. Surbiton – winners of our very own Surrey County Cup competition – were also very efficient and forceful in their attacks. Although we couldn’t find the back of their goal, neither could they in ours, and we proved that we are just as worthy to attend the South Regionals!
The last four games of the tournament were hard work only for the fact that after so much excitement, activity and enthusiasm, energy levels were beginning to tail off and concern was mounting that just a momentary lapse of concentration could cost them a result. However, we were more than a match for the Canterbury As, Tunbridge Wells, Ashford and Canterbury Bs, and we came away with a two-nil result from each and every one of these games.
In the final wash-up, we ended up joint top of the table with Sevenoaks, but they pipped us to the gold medals position only on goal difference. This did not phase the girls at all because they absolutely knew full well just how successful they had been. Highlights of the day:
- Played 8, Won 6, Drew 2
- Beating Surbiton in the results, matching Kent Champions Sevenoaks on points, silver medal only due to goal difference
- Goals scored 15 - Emily B x 8, Emily H x 3, Sasha x 2, Charlotte x 2
- Goals conceded 1 – courtesy of Poppy, Darcy, Imogen, Annabelle
- Honorable mentions to the whole team:
- Aimee, for true grit & determination in her hockey, as well as demonstrating to the rest of the team how to take really fast restarts!
- Annabelle, for being a real utility player across the entire pitch
- Charlotte, for strong play down the left wing and so much effort in tracking back to tackle
- Darcy, for being a rock in defence and for her powerful clearances up the line
- Emily B, for superb ball control and goal conversions
- Emily H, also for great work in attack
- Imogen, for some very well-timed tackles and solid clearances out of the D
- Poppy, for some excellent saves, and concentration throughout (despite not having to do a great deal)
- Sasha, for intelligent play, distribution, and tackling
- The parents in attendance, for turning out for the whole day as well as for their very vocal support of the team
The girls receiving their medals from Grace Balsdon, Canterbury Ladies’ 1st XI captain and GB/England player.