Team: Olivia, Hatty, Charlotte H, Charlotte J, Alexandra, Susannah, Anouk
It was a glorious morning on Sunday, which was fortunate because the 0845 meeting time on the Sunday morning after the clocks went forward was putting a serious strain on my energy levels. With two teams playing an U10 tournament at Wimbledon on the same morning, this was a great chance for some of the less experienced girls to represent Guildford at an U9 six-a-side event against the hosts, A&F, and by coincidence, Wimbledon...
I thought setting a complicated warm-up might get the girls brains working as well as their bodies but I may have underestimated the effect of the early start. However, I shouldn’t have worried as the girls immediately picked up in the first match with greater enthusiasm and effort than the opposition.
This level of effort continued throughout the morning with us achieving one win and one draw in our first matches. The third match we did lose but that was due to the umpire blowing late for full time. As the umpire was me I thought the girls would be annoyed but they agreed it was the sporting thing to do when the ball was less than a metre from our goal – it was a friendly after all.
Energy levels were starting to flag by the last match as the team did not have a break but sadly the strongest Wimbledon U9 team awaited us in the last match and they were the better side scoring 4 despite some resolute but tiring defence.
The girls chose their positions each match and really worked to keep a good shape. Hatty seemed to love being in defence and don’t let her huge smile or small size fool you because she was a terrifying when tackling. Absolutely superb at clearing out attack after attack. After working on the girls at training to react quickly at free hits, Susannah had really learnt the lesson and was always quick to exploit opposition hesitation after a whistle, occasionally even when it was their ball, but she scored a couple whilst the opposition were still working out what was happening. Anouk and Charlotte H also did good work in defence whilst Charlotte J and Olivia played their best hockey in midfield with Olivia showing some of the skills acquired from training and Charlotte J unshakeable if she lost the ball, hounding the opposition until she got it back. Alexandra tried a few positions and agreed she occasionally got so enthusiastic that she lost her position but it’s hard to question that level of enthusiasm. She was prepared to go everywhere and tackle everyone and, together with the rest of the team worked so hard and never gave up, even when faced with the last match against a clearly stronger side.
As usual with our group of girls at matches, it was an absolute pleasure to coach girls who play with such a positive attitude. Well worth that shocking alarm clock moment.