The whole club are very proud of the young ladies who represented GHC in this year's Inmaculada Tournament at the Barcelona Polo Club on the female side of the Championship Competition...
To come away with a Bronze, losing only once to the eventual winners in the semi-finals, and keeping 4 out of 5 games ‘to nil’ was amazing!, and well justified for their collective and individual effort, team spirit and camaraderie.
Played 5 / Won 3 / Drawn 1 / Lost 1
Goals For 10 / Goals Against 2 / Goal Difference +8
- Captain: Ottalie T
- Vice Captains: Emily W & Freya W
- Team: Tabby B, Martha C, Saffy S, Caitlyn B, Lola I, Phoebe W, Emma M
- Support, Logistics, ‘Cheer Squad’ and ‘Spies’ our thanks to Patricia, Nicole, Carla, Amelia, Julie, Felicity and ‘1-day tourist’ Sam.
After a very early flight from Gatwick, the squad got to the hotel, dropped off bags and settled in for some lunch to ‘fuel up’ before it began….
Match 1 – Club de Campo HC, Madrid 5 – 0 (1330hrs)
Very quickly and aggressively into the opposition, who the girls never let settle or have any time on the ball, was exactly what we wanted to see form them. All of the girls’ hard work was paying off, the hours spent in the rain up at Charterhouse (and a MASSIVE thanks to all the opposition they faced in preparation during the build-up) and the excellent work of our absent coach Robert. In attack the ball was moved about, at speed, under control, into space and opened up scoring chances from the off.
Our defensive set up with Emma, Saffy, Lola and Emily protected our goal (and intercepted) anything the Campo team could muster. Tabby would have to wait for some action (pleasing to see but not much fun for T !!!). As would be our norm, we seemed to be trying to set a record for the number of ice packs we could use and the number of girls to come off injured. They fought really hard and did not once take a backwards step – well done!.
The girls showed themselves they could do this and came off the pitch fired up and in a very positive mindset.
Match 2 – Xaloc HC 3-0 (1600hrs)
An unknown entity as this was the first time they had been invited to the tournament, Xaloc were immense as they made their way onto the pitch. Many tall players but 1 of the young ladies stood out as she would easily have got into any Barcelona Nightclub and been served!. The girls’ confidence was shaken but they knew by then they were good enough for this (particularly after the BU12’s match the preceding Sunday – thank you boys).
After a nervy start, with multiple chances squandered near goal, the second half of the match changed significantly with some great movement off the ball leading to scoring chances which were well converted by the ‘strike group’ – Ottalie, Freya, Martha, Phoebe and Caitlyn. A rough match, but one we deserved to win comfortably. After other matches in the group we now knew were out of the group and into the semi-finals. Off to bed for some very tired players, and a little later the ‘cheer squad’ after some ‘light’ hotel bar refreshments!.
Fuelling up in the Hotel
Match 3 – Jolaseta HC 0-0 (1330hrs Day 2)
After our ‘spies’ had watched the team earlier we planned for their threats accordingly… What we didn’t plan upon was the refereeing during this game, we had been advised about sometimes having a junior player but honestly ?!!??!......
Our roughest game by far, Emma and Phoebe carried off the pitch, many tumbles, pushes and stick challenges later we ended up with a 0-0 draw (1 goal disallowed for GHC, advantage played and then not.. we were called back for a free hit to GHC…. ??). This match was to decide who we would meet in the semi-finals and the draw gave the girls the group win (and the supposed easier match against Sevenoaks HC). Tabby saved the day on at least 3 occasions during the match, her goal keeping and presence in the D, combined with massive bravery helped the defence keep them at bay. We had chances at the other end but the whistle seemed to blow more frequently at that end somehow!.
Special mention to Martha, who so effectively marked out of the game the oppositions’ lead scorer, that she might as well not have been playing.
Match 4 – Semi-final, Sevenoaks HC 0-2 (1630hrs Day 2)
The girls started brightly against what we knew would be good opposition, they had supported each other in the previous rounds during the day so I was impressed with their focus and application. Early injuries (we were as a team going through ice packs at a rate of knots !) to Freya (eye) and Martha (arm) forced changes onto the team and the way we sought to play which were not ideal. They worked hard and covered the ground, moving the ball into space but just lacked the final touch or step to break down the opposition. Unfortunately with the changed shape of the side we went down to 2 well worked goals coming from wide. All credit to the girls, they had competed and lost out to the eventual winners.
After we debriefed and wrapped-up the day we watched the boys play again (Massive ‘thank you’ to both squads for supporting us earlier) and also knew the result of the other semi… we would be facing Jolaseta again in the bronze play off tomorrow (Martha had the same goal for the return match and the girls were fired up to not be pushed around). Everyone needed a break to re-focus so the team forgot Hockey and had a great evening all managed by the ‘Cheer Squad’ – my thanks.
Match 5 – 3rd / 4th place playoff, Jolaseta HC 2-0 (1230hrs Day 3)
The girls should be very proud of their performance in this match, they peaked for the final and played some the best Hockey I have ever seen them play this year, and last. From back to front the individual performances were skilful, committed and with an appreciation for the teams’ strategy to win and win well. I know that by now some of the girls were carrying ‘knocks’ but all played their part in the final match, there was illness, colds, sore throats, ear ache and the start of a possible mighty black eye but they did not take one backward step. 2 great goals, some inspired keeping and defence and the final whistle brought them their well-deserved podium finish. (no-one came off injured and we didn’t use the last of our dwindling ice pack supply…).
I would like to thank everyone, on behalf of the young ladies, who helped organise the trip, train the team, do the admin, support, coach, practice with, support and act as taxis for the players in the build up to the tour. They toured well, and I hope they tour again soon. I have not been so proud of a group as I am in them and what they achieved in 3 days in Barcelona.