Guildford HC’s Under 18 Boys took to the indoor hockey court on Sunday in the South Hockey Indoor Finals at Trinity School. The team went into the competition as South and National defending champions with their work cut out for them, competing in this annual tournament that comprised 11 teams from across the South of England.
Pool matches were 18 minutes one way. Knock-out matches were 2 x 10 minutes.
Pool Game 1: Horsham (8-0 win)
From pushback Raphael slalomed through the opposition defence with the ball and within 45 seconds Guildford were on the score sheet. Isaac doubled the score one minute later and it would have been easy for the Guildford players to ease off, lose focus, forget their discipline or neglect their team play.
But that was far from the case - the team used the opportunity to get well into their stride and the rest of the match saw solid passing and patient team play resulting in a further six goals from four additional goal scorers:
- Freddy in the back sent to Raph in mid who spotted Elliot on a good run and who slotted in for 3-0.
- Not long after, a short corner shot was saved, more than once, until Raph pounced on a rebound for 4-0.
- Another PC saw William opening his account for the day, 5-0.
- Jasper did some excellent running up front late in the game for goals 6 and 7…before another William PC flick went in for 8-0.
We then faced a short corner near the end of the game but the boys kept their focus and their clean sheet. Elliot in goal wasn’t too busy but did make two good clearances when needed. Jake subbed in up front and Harry in the back and mid in seamless transitions, keeping the teamwork running smoothly.
Pool Game 2: Amersham (6-0 win)
It was another quick start for the Guildford boys when 45 seconds in, Elliot S had a shot well saved by the Amersham keeper. Not long after, a short corner was awarded and Elliot’s strike was saved before the Amersham keeper made another two saves from outfield play. Isaac then got a good ball in to Elliot up front but the shot went wide. Seemed only a matter of time now…
Raph carried the ball into the D forcing an Amersham mistake to give us a corner with Freddy finding the net for 1-0. A few minutes later Freddy repeated the effort in another PC for 2-0. Two more PC shots went wide left and the wide right. Another shot from open play was saved as were several other attempts before a Freddy-Elliot-Jasper link-up gave Jasper his third goal of the day for 3-0, followed by a Freddy-Isaac-Jasper link-up for Jasper’s fourth goal and 4-0.
To their credit Amersham never gave up under the relentless Guildford attack. There were plenty of saves from the keeper and defenders and Amersham gave away ten short corners, understandably given how much pressure was being put in the circle. Two more of the corners were scored (Isaac and then Will) for a final score of 6-0.
The very experienced Amersham coach congratulated us after the match saying he had never seen a better indoor team.
Pool Game 3: Woking (5-1 win)
In a repeat of the Horsham start, from the whistle Raph escaped a number of defenders to open the scoring within 40 seconds. About 40 seconds later a team effort involving Freddy, Issaac, Raph and Will found the back of the net for 2-0. Woking didn’t really know what had hit them. But Guildford didn’t let up – a PC was awarded and Fred’s shot was deflected in by Raph for 3-0. Woking dug in hard but in a stunning move Will, finding himself surrounded by the GK and 3 defenders, manged to loop a backhand shot over all of them for 4-0 at the five minute mark.
The game then settled down with Woking getting a better measure of the game and starting to defend better. We had a flick saved and then an open goal missed. The fifth goal came in a penalty corner (Isaac) and then we faced a penalty corner with Elliot in goal making a solid save. Down the other end, the Woking keeper accidently took out Jake but unfortunately the resulting penalty stroke was saved. As the clock ran down we gave away a penalty corner which Woking did well to score for 5-1.
Pool Game 4: Marlow (4-1 win)
Marlow were there in numbers with the maximum allowed 12 players and were well up for the match. So were we and in another quick start Will had us up 1-0 within a minute. Superb team passing and patient play ensued. The boys kept their nerve defending a short corner and then up the other end a PC for us was upgraded to a PS and a green for Marlow with Isaac converting for 2-0.
We then had another PC shot saved and Elliot in goal had to make a save the other end as well. It was a hard fought match and the boys kept working and working. Harry was regularly swapping in at the back and made some super passes forward. Jake and Jasper were swapping in and out with Will and Elliot and the team dynamics were really working well no matter who was on the pitch.
The third goal was a lovely team effort with four players involved on the ball and Elliot scoring while the others were just as involved by doing their jobs of marking and running. 3-0.
Marlow never gave up and there was a lot to do in defence – this was not one way traffic at all. A good save from Elliot in goal had the ball dropping almost directly onto Freddy’s stick and in a flash of brilliance he snaked through the length of the pitch and flicked in for 4-0.
We then faced a few short corners and unfortunately the last one as the clock ran down went in for 4-1.
Semi-final v Trojans (4-0 win)
Four wins from four matches took us into the semi-finals as pool winners where we met a well-drilled and feisty Trojans team who had lost narrowly only to Surbiton in their pool. At this point the team transferred to Whitgift where the other pool was playing ahead of the knock-out matches.
Trojans defence made things difficult for Guildford, but perseverance paid off when Freddy fired the ball to Isaac who ran forward and sent to Jake who netted to start the scoring.
A few minutes later another team effort followed, the ball going from Isaac to Raph back to Isaac to Elliot up front who slotted in a second goal before half time for a bit of margin in this match that would determine which of the two teams would progress to National Finals.
Guildford then had to defend a few short corners from a fighting Trojans team including Raph saving off the line in one corner and then in another off his chest with the kicking back bib on as he ran toward the oppo PC striker after the keeper had seen green for a small mistake.
With 9 seconds left on the card at the re-start for the second half, Elliot C ran in as fast as he could to protect the goal. The second half brought one of the goals of the tournament with Will chipping the goalkeeper followed by another team goal with Will at the end of it for 4-0.
Meanwhile Marlow had beat Surbiton after a 1-1 draw on penalty flicks 1-0 to set up a Guildford-Marlow Final.
Final v Marlow (3-1 win)
Marlow came out fighting and for the first time all day Guildford went a goal down: a Marlow shot was saved by Elliot in goal, Isaac then saved another on the line, but Marlow were subsequently awarded a PC which they converted 1 minute into the game.
The Guildford team kept their focus and, building on the hard work they had been doing all day, were able to equalise on a short corner (Will) and then go ahead with a field goal (Isaac) before the half time whistle.
More excellent work from all positions kept Guildford ahead through some admirable Marlow play. Marlow went for a kicking back with 2.5 minutes to go but succumbed to pressure in the D near the end and a short corner gave us the chance to secure the win at 3-1 before the final whistle.
South Hockey Association Lead Tony Hilton was on hand to preside over the medal ceremony where the boys collected their Gold medals and best wishes for the National Finals taking place in January.
Congratulations to Marlow who had a strong tournament and also qualify for National Finals.
Many thanks to M1s players Tylo, Gonzalo, Jayme and Craig and also James Relph and coaches Dan Fox and Edward Tristem who provided a tough opposition to help the boys train. Very much appreciated.