Massive congratulations to our BU12 team for reaching the National Finals. Here's how it went ending in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out in their final match play-off...
The road to success
- Dedication to training throughout the season come rain, shine, frost and snow
- A very strong squad of 60 boys in the BU12 age group (making selection for the coaches tough - a nice challenge to have)
- Dedication and support of all parents with many donating significant time to make the club what it is today, this is part of what makes the culture of Guildford Hockey Club
- Just under 200 matches played by the four teams in the BU12 squad over the season
- Successful tour to Barcelona (where the team bonding began)
- A win at the Teddington Tournament
- Runners up in the Surrey Cup
- Blowing away cobwebs at the Canterbury Tournament
- Two vital training sessions against a BU14 team pre-Regionals and Nationals
- Runners up in the South Region Finals (Top two teams from each of the 8 counties in the South participate)
- 5th place at the National Finals (Top two teams from each of the 5 Regions participate)
How the Nationals panned out:
Pool match 1 vs Harrogate
Drew 1-1 (Sammy)
Nick had bumped into an ex colleague from work who was managing Harrogate so this match had added spice! Our boys were slow off the mark with understandable nerves impeding the high standard of hockey they can play. Harrogate took the first goal but we came back to equalise and were very unfortunate not to get a win with a couple of other shots very narrowly missing the goal. We certainly imposed the most pressure in this match.
Pool match 2 vs Clifton Robinsons
Loss 2-3 (Sam, Toby)
We were still not playing the hockey we know we can play and were down 2-0 at half time. However, one thing we can say is that this team knows how to fight back. After half time the boys significantly upped their game and drew level with two good goals but unfortunately, we were caught napping and conceded a very weak goal. (It was good to catch up with Morgan Barnes who started his hockey career at GHC but now plays for CR after his family moved West).
Pool match 3 vs Rugby & East Warwickshire
Loss 2-3 (Sammy, Sammy)
Bit of a theme was developing, we went down 2 goals before once again upping our team work and drawing level, however Rugby managed to slot away the winning goal. Rugby would go on to win the Nationals narrowly beating Surbiton in the Final (3-3 at full time, 3-3 on P-Flicks and finally winning the sudden death).
This tournament was really challenging the boys character as throughout the day the run of luck had been against them as were some crucial umpiring decisions. But the test of true character is how the boys react and cope with the situation. They needed a win to lift their spirits and release the talent that lies within each of them. That said all the matches had been very close indeed and could have gone either way. One of the positives was that the boys were scoring goals which would prove to be crucial in the final pool positioning. We now had an hour and three quarter break before our final pool match. Some of the time was taken up with the official team photos and the rest with the boys improvising with various ball and stick games.
Pool match 4 vs Old Loughtonians
Win 7-1 (Sammy, Sammy, Sammy, Toby, Sam, Toby, Rafe)
At last the boys were playing the hockey they knew they could play. But they were not about to drop the habit of the day by conceding the first goal! From there on it was a feast of great hockey, determination, strength, skill, effort and teamwork which saw what I believe was the highest goal haul in a single match of the day and ensured we ended 3rd in the pool.
Final match for 5/6 overall position vs Deeside Ramblers
Win on penalties
2-2 Full time (Sammy, Sammy)
3-1 Penalty Flicks (Sammy, Ben, Toby).
For the first time today we took the first goal of the match, in fact we took the first two goals, the second being one of our best team goals of the day. The ball having been passed from Ben to Toby, Toby to Sammy, Sammy into the back of the goal.
So a fantastic 5th place at the National Finals - congratulations to all the boys.
Success came from our hugely talented Boys but also thanks to the amazing encouragement and team spirit from all the parents and friends who came and supported the Boys on the day. We all had an incredible experience at the Nationals and it was great to be part of such a professional occasion with the organisation and treatment of a premier sporting occasion ...... which clearly it was!
And finally, none of this could have happened without the help from the fantastic BU12 coaching team, many thanks to:
and a massive thanks to Matt Penney for his help and support throughout the season all the way to the Finals.
Signing off the 2017/18 season in the knowledge that the BU12 squad for 2018/19 will go from strength to strength and that the boys moving up to the U14 group will augment a very strong squad. Have a great break over the summer and I hope many of you enjoy and participate in the Performance Academy, Surrey Development Center & Training Camps.
All the best,
The Key to Success is Team Play: Breakfast team meeting...
Defending a short corner v Rugby & EW...
Team: Sam W, Barney B, Ben G, Felix F, Liam K, Archie P, Toby K, Sammy D, Rafe Wilks, Ehsan A-K
Coaches: Nick Kuhle and Matt Penney