Two GHC Juniors teams Girls U12 and Boys U12 travelled to Barcelona for the 32nd edition of the Inmaculada tournament. The Girls finished on the podium...
This was another super tour of hockey with two teams of players, coaches and parents heading out to sunny Spain for some tough, competitive hockey. The Polo Club's annual Senior invitational has been running for 72 years; this Junior version now attracts a thousand junior players from across Spain and Europe. This is GHC's 9th year of participation!
The players were very excited about going and despite a small delay we still got to Barcelona in good time and ready to play our first few games. Here is a round-up from the Girls' U12 Championship tournament (they played in this top tier there is a second tier "Cup" tournament alongside this):
Game 1 v Sevenoaks (2-0 win)
We knew this would be a tough game against the club that won the U12s in 2018 and we were ready! We had a slow start against a strong Sevenoaks team but lots of determination followed by strong tackles stopped the Sevenoaks attack time and time again.
We passed the ball well and after the first 5 minutes Beth passed to Ella to score from close range. Then Martha accidentally hit a Sevenoaks player but she was ok and the game resumed and we won 2-0. Very good start against a decent team and a very early wake up after travelling all day.
Next game saw us play the Spanish side SPV Complutense from Madrid.
Game 2 v SPV Complutense (1-0 win)
This was a sluggish game against a small but tenacious team. We looked a bit tired but did well to grind out a 1-0 win after having a lot of the ball. A good outcome and the opposition goalie was excellent at saving out shots.
The girls did well to finish off the day with 2 wins and had a good time at the Hotel Juan Carlos where all were well behaved throughout.
Game 3 - Real Groupo de Cultura Convadongo (2-0 win)
The girls looked refreshed for this game and started brightly with lots of work rate and options down the right hand side. The opposition were a decent team but we were stronger and a goal eventually came from Martha Robo on the back of Martha R's run down the right. Some strong defending at the back from Holly, Gemma and also Martha M. Grace didn’t have to make a save but marshalled the defence well and communicated to her defenders well. Martha M then scored the final goal after some quick passing from Rosie and Ella in the middle.
Game 4 v Joleseta (0-0)
The final group game came against a decent side but we passed the ball well and managed to take our chances to finish at the top of the group. The team finished at the top of the pool with 10 points and were to face the strong Belgian side, KHC Leuven who had won their pool on 12 points.
Game 5 - Final v KHC Leuven (0-0 normal time, lost on shuttles)
This was a very close game, but we definitely had the balance of play against a very dramatic Leuven team. There was some great passing hockey and lots of aggressive defence which caused upset in our opposition as we closed their play down very successfully.
We had numerous chances with Rosie and Beth hitting some good shots on target but the Leuven keeper managed to prevent the ball from crossing the line. Grace was forced to make a save and stayed sharp to keep the goal out. The teams couldn't be separated in normal time, and so we headed to shuttles. The girls all tried their best and Grace managed to save 6 shuttles in a row and a penalty flick!
Unfortunately the 7th shuttle - sudden death - was scored by Leuven. The opposition coach said to us "Guildford won the game and Leuven won the penalty shuffles." Overall, a great final and the girls will learn a lot from the loss; we had enough possession to win but need to sharpen up the finishing.
An amazing weekend in which we didn't concede a single goal in 5 games - pretty impressive considering the teams we were up against!
Massive thanks for Katie Stewart for organising the whole trip, the parents for supporting the team and the girls for all their effort and concentration. They were a pleasure to coach over the weekend and Barcelona will remain a special place for GHC and some amazing hockey experiences with their mates.
Squad - Grace, Beth, Holly, Gemma, Martha M, Martha Robo, Martha R, Ella S, Rosie
Coaches - James Relph & Katie Stewart