Girls' Hockey - IAPS U13 East of England Finals, Bedford Hockey Centre (A), Thu 14 Mar 2013
The Holmwood girls set off with great enthusiasm for an exciting day of top class hockey. We arrived at the impressive Bedford Hockey Centre to find four pitches already in play and, after a hasty but thorough warm up, we faced Newport Free Grammar, Cambridgeshire's number 1 team. Holmwood were slow to adapt to the pitch and made some careless errors, but battled hard throughout. Newport went 2 goals up when Alex W finally scored, but it was disallowed due to an earlier infringement. Losing 2-0 was a bit disappointing, but this was to be the team that went on to the finals. Our next game against Bedford Modern was more balanced, as we were both second teams for our repective counties. The play was end to end, but we failed to convert several shooting opportunities. Rosie M finally managed to slip in a deflection from the goalkeeper and it ended 1-1. Unfortunately, our final game was against Gresham's, Norfolk's number 1, and a team we had lost to at the IAPS tournament. This time we played with greater confidence and Daisy G in goal made several well timed saves, but again we couldn't seem to finish our shots on target and Gresham's came away with a well deserved 2-0 victory.
This was the end of the section games and, when we saw the results sheet, it was particularly galling to see several teams that we have beaten go through as higher placed teams than us because they had easier opponents. With nothing to lose, we decided that we were going out in style and were going to end the day on a high - and by golly we did! We now had to play the fourth placed teams in the other three sections, starting with Spalding High, Lincolnshire's second team. At last we found the target, Rosie M made two identical runs down the right wing ending with 2 blistering goals and Alex W discovered her well known "terrier" streak and scored 2 more. A comfortable win which really raised the spirits. Our penultimate game, against Thomas Deacon Academy (Cambridgeshire's second team), went horribly wrong to start with us being 2-0 down at half-time but, as usual, this superb group found an extra gear and with goals from Lara C, Alex W and Rosie M we came out on top with a 3-2 win. By now the girls were really feeling the strain with two sprained ankles and several bruised and bleeding fingers, but the emotion of going into our last ever game together was incredible. It was a hard game against Bourne Grammar, Lincolnshire's number 1 team, but despite Chloe R being forced to come off injured and Molly R struggling with a seriously painful sprained ankle, we kept up the pressure and scored two fantastic goals from Lara C and Molly R to win 2-0.
3 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw. A truly respectable result against top quality opposition. The forwards did brilliantly to keep scoring the goals, and Georgia G was always on hand for deflections. However, recognition must also go to the solid defence of Lottie R, Chloe R and Abi M who made endless well timed tackles and several clearances off the goal line! Our true saviour of the day was Daisy G in goal, who coped incredibly well under pressure and kept us in the game time and time again.
I have never felt so tearful at what I consider to be the end of the best year of hockey in a very long time. This team, led superbly by Abi M, have made every training session, match and tournament an absolute pleasure to coach. They have grown as individuals and as a team and I could not be more proud of every single one of them. A huge thank you also to such a fantastic support group the parents have been since the very first game back in September. It has made such a difference to have the physical and emotional support, when the wind was howling and we have all been frozen. Winning or losing, you have shouted and cheered every pass, tackle and goal - thank you!Mrs Goldring, Director of Sport