The Under 14 Boys won their England Hockey Tier 1 Tournament and qualified for the Tier 2 Regional Tournament which was hosted by Winchester and which also included teams from Bath and Sunbury...
Tournament hockey is always great fun and can be a real roller coaster both on the pitch and on the side line as a Parent and Coach!! Yesterday we played Team Bath Buccanneers who had come 4th in the country last year and a very, very strong Winchester side with several top quality players and then lastly Sunbury & Walton Hawks.
v Team Bath Buccanneers 1-1 draw
In the first game we started slowly, scored a great goal from Mark on the break and then grew into the game. Both sides had chances to win but I did feel we edged the game and could easily have won but the score line remained drawn. I really was pleased at the intensity of the team, ball speed, skill and desire of the boys. A draw in the first game was a great start.
v Winchester 4-2 loss
Next up where Winchester. This would be a test as knew they have 5 boys in their squad playing to a very high standard and this was to be a real examination of our ability. The Winchester team moved well on and off the ball and the ball speed and individual quality was higher than our own. 3 nil down at the half and some sad faces. 4 nil down (and it could have been more had Ben in goal not be outstanding) and it looked like the game was going one only one way. Rather than fold, every boy kept trying to play and were duly rewarded with 2 late goals. When we play with speed and passion we are a really good side. I believe Winchester will be in the top 3 in the country.
v Sunbury & Walton Hawks 2-1 loss
Approaching the last game I had hoped to end on a high and for the boys and spectators to see what a genuinely good side we are at this age group. The game started brightly and some good hockey down the right allowing the ball to come into the D and with Henry putting the ball away for a early 1 nil lead. Sadly rather than keep the tempo high, our tired legs and minds allowed the game to slow and Sunbury equalised with a sloppy goal. Sunbury were a good team but not has skilful as the other two and gave us more time and space on the ball. This space allowed our attacking hockey to dominate and Chan had his best game in a while running wild over their left back. Sadly our ‘D’ penetration failed to equate to shots on goal. As we pressed forward looking for the deserved winner Sunbury showed why they had got to the tournament with a great goal starting with their right defender and allowing their left wing a simple tap in. With the clock ticking the boys tried in vein to everything to score but we couldn't quite do it. 2-1 loss.
My summary of the day was we were playing a very high standard and in the 3 games - 90 mins of hockey - we only played good hockey for 45-50 mins and we suffered the consequences in the other minutes. However, we shouldn’t be too hard ourselves and we can learn for the future. Well tried all. Good luck to Winchester who progress to the Finals in May.