U13 Loretto Hockey Tournament

Sunday 2nd October
The squad: Lucy B, (capt), Jess (GK), Georgia, Eloise, Mille, Abbie, Anna, Louisa, Chloe & Jessica
Loretto 7s hockey

Today’s annual hockey bonanza at Loretto was, as ever, a fabulous day of sport, played on the most glorious of days, on a lovely pitch. 6 teams had entered the tournament which took a round robin format, with all teams playing one-another with the top two then going through to the Cup final. Teams in 3rd and 4th place went through to the Plate final and teams in 5th and 6th place, into the Bowl final. So, all teams were guaranteed 6 games. First up, we played Belhaven.
St. Mary’s 0, Belhaven 0
A tough game to start the day and perhaps one we should have won. We dominated the game but despite coming close on a number of occasions, couldn’t manage to score. Belhaven had their chances too but some heroics from Jess at the back, kept them out. At times we were bullied off the ball and guilty of ball watching as opposed to watching the opposition but we came away from the game with a valuable point.
St. Mary’s 2, Loretto 1
Our second game of the day, against Loretto was significantly better. At the back we were much more aware of the opposition and individually, we were much more robust, fighting for every ball and tracking hard to gain possession. Our perseverance was rewarded with two cracking goals from Jessica, a deserved boost for the girls. Loretto scored courtesy of a good strike from a short corner but we managed to hold on to a much needed win. I was pleased to see our midfield dominate the game. Abbie, Millie, Anna & Louisa looked strong in possession and supplied the front two of Jessica and Lucy with some good ball. Chloe, Eloise and Georgia at the back worked really well together. Free hits were taken quickly and altogether it was a confident and pleasing performance.
St. Mary’s 1, Ardvreck 0
This was another good game for St. Mary’s and again, was one we dominated. Perhaps more composure in front of goal would have seen a few more shots pass their back line but that said, Anna cropped up in the right place at the right time and slotted home the only goal of the game. I was again delighted with the physicality and determination of the girls. I could not fault their work rate which on a hot day was hard work! I thought the girls thoroughly deserved their win which now placed them at the top end of the pool, with two wins and 1 draw. It was looking as if our passage through to the finals would come down to the last two games of the day, the first against Cargilfield and the last against Cundall Manor.
St. Mary’s 0. Cargilfield 0
Following our 2-2 draw with Cargilfield last Wednesday, we knew this would be a cracking game and it didn’t disappoint. In my opinion this was our best game of the day. The girls played some lovely hockey and each girl answered the call and did their job. We closed Cargilfield down quickly allowing them no time on the ball and the shots they did get away were hurried and all well saved by Jess. Offensively we were in the ascendance for large periods of the game and must have been awarded at least 4 penalty corners. These worked well but just lacked that extra punched needed to cross the line. The Cargilfield keeper at one stage dived to her right and made a goal line save, just preventing the ball from crossing the line. So again, this was a game that was perhaps there for the taking and on another day may well have gone our way. As it was, we needed a win from our final game against Cundall Manor to guarantee our place in the Cup final.
St. Mary’s 0, Cundall Manor 1
This was another great game and seesawed from one end to the other. We had our chances and came so close to scoring. Their opportunities were fewer than ours and it was only thanks to a goalmouth scramble that they were able to take the lead. This spurred our girls on even more and they threw everything into the final few minutes. Alas, we ran out of time although I couldn’t have been more proud of the girls. Cundall were a good side and they eventually went on to win the tournament. However, we put them under considerable pressure and looked as though we could have scored at any time. I could not fault any one for their effort and sheer determination.
This result meant that we had come 3rd in the Pool so the girls had to pick themselves up for one last game against Belhaven to decide the Plate final.
St. Mary’s 1 – Belhaven 1
This was an epic match! Clearly both teams wanted to end their day with a victory so it was end to end! The Belhaven girls were first to score, again from a short corner, but we equalized soon afterwards, another Jessica goal at the far post. Despite their best efforts, the game finished 1-1, so it was to be running penalties to decide the result.
Running penalties: players have 8 seconds to dribble the ball from the half way line into the D and score. Three girls from each team are nominated and take alternate penalties. In the event of a draw after three, the same three girls repeat the process in reverse order. If there is still nothing to split the teams, it goes to sudden death penalties, using the same three girls in any order.
Lucy, Abbie and Jessica took the penalties for St. Mary’s, in that order.
After three from each team, the score was locked at 2-2, so it went to a rerun in reverse order. This time, 2 more goals from each team saw the scores to 4 – 4, so it was going to have to be decided by sudden death. To cut a long story short, the teams could not be separated. Both goal keepers were phenomenal! Jess made save after save in spite of having all the pressure on her shoulders. To be honest we lost track of the score during this epic shoot out but it went on and on. We would miss, they would miss, we scored, they scored and so it continued. We worked out that it was on the 23rd running penalty that Belhaven managed to clinch the win. In all my years I have never experienced such a battle of the penalties. Many congratulations to Lucy, Abbie and Jessica and in particular Jess, for absorbing all that pressure and keeping composed and focused throughout.
Understandably, the girls were exhausted. They had thrown everything at the day and can be proud of their many achievements. Such days are excellent experience for them so I have no doubt that they have all learned lots and will be that little bit wiser as a result.
Loretto 7s hockey 2

Player profiles:
Lucy: well done today. Some great skills and spatial awareness. If in doubt keep that ball close and work the space. You led the team superbly. Remember composure in front of goal.
Jessica: some superb runs and excellent positioning today. Be strong in the tackle and don’t panic when you’re in a tight space. I’m sure you’ve learned lots today. Superb work rate and stay composed in from of goal.
Millie: your physicality was excellent today against some feisty girls. ‘Though shalt not pass’ rang true on many occasions. Keep your stick low and make sure you work back quickly to support your defense. Good skills too!
Abbie: well played today. Positionally you were very effective and supported the front two well. Track back though to link with your defense and be strong on the ball, it’s yours! Go towards the ball to receive it to get in front of your marker.
Anna: some surging runs today and great stick work to boot. Try to lift your head to increase your awareness and perception of direction and space. Track back hard to pick up players in defense and remember to utilize width when you’re in a wide position.
Georgia: very tenacious today and you used your strength to excellent effect. You were effective out wide and at the back – a useful skill to have. Don’t get caught out of position. Stay goal side your marker and you must get the right side of free hits quickly to defend them. Well done, today.
Louisa: well played today. You linked very well with your back and front lines and kept good structure. Be strong on the ball and work hard to regain possession. You’ve got a great hit, use it!
Eloise: great awareness today. Good to see you taking 16s quickly, before the opposition were ready and you usually found your mid field or forward line with your pass. Great work. Mark tight at the back and be vigilant of who’s in your D!
Chloe: very strong today and you did everything that was asked of you. Be mindful of where the opposing forwards are and listen to your keeper. Some superb and timely tackles too. Very well played.
Jess: baring one goal against Loretto, which ultimately didn’t matter, you were superb today. Some simply outstanding saves which ultimately kept your team in the running. Keep on your toes when shots are imminent. You should be so proud of your day! 
Mr P.

Jules Birdsall, 03/10/2016

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