U13 Kilgraston Hockey Tournament

Saturday 18th March

U13 Kilgraston Tournament

Today’s outing was to be our last as a hockey squad for this season. Although not quite at full strength, we set forth for Perthshire in good spirits, well aware of the tasks that lay ahead but confident in our own ability. Teams had been divided into two Pools and we had been drawn with Kilgraston, Edinburgh Academy, St. George’s and Strathallan. The winners and runners up in both Pools would progress through to the semi finals. Games were 10 minutes one way and first up were St. George’s.

St. Mary’s 0, St. George’s 0

This was a great opening game against a strong and skilful team. I was delighted with how the girls played. Defensively, we were superb and Chloe and Eloise were undoubtedly instrumental in keeping us in the game. Jess was called upon to make a couple of saves but she protected her goal well. My mid-field of Abbie, Anna and Millie worked relentlessly and supported by Jessica and Lucy up front, so nearly broke down the St. George’s defence. However, the game finished a very respectable draw.

St. Mary’s 0, Edinburgh Academy 0

Tournament sport is often decided by the narrowest of margins so going into this game we needed a win with preferably lots of goals. The Academy had also drawn their opening game so they too were seeking a win. As a result this was another exciting encounter, end to end but it was a story of epic defending from both teams. Towards the end of the game we were awarded a penalty corner, the opportunity we earnestly sought. Unfortunately it didn’t go according to plan and once again, we ended with a 0 – 0 draw. On the positive we hadn’t conceded a goal either so it was still all to play for going into our final two games.

St. Mary’s 2, Kilgraston 0

The girls knew this was a must win game and so threw their heart and soul into it, with superb results! Again, all the girls played their part and collectively they were fabulous. With a little more composure in front of goal, we perhaps could have scored more but the girls fought hard for the win and thoroughly deserved to get the result. Their work rate was phenomenal and while we threatened their goal on every attack, defensively we were solid and never looked like conceding. Chloe and Georgia were able to make some decisive surges forward which boosted numbers up front and subsequently helped us clinch the win.

However, although this was a good result and one we badly needed, we still needed nothing but a win against Riley in our final Pool game.

St. Mary’s 1, Riley 0

We had played and beaten Riley just before the Christmas holidays so knew we could beat them but ten minutes isn’t long and past form often counts for nothing in such short games. The girls played well and again dominated much of the game, more than perhaps the score suggests. Ideally, another goal or two would have made a difference but happy with the win, it was going to be very tight to see who had won the Pool. The winner of our Pool was due to play the runner up of the other Pool, so would arguably have the easier semi final? As it turned out we ended up joint winners of the Pool with St. George’s. Both teams had finished on 8 points, having scored 3, conceded 0 and as the match between the two schools had also ended in a draw, we had to decide the winner of the Pool with running penalties.

This time 3 players, in turn, had 8 seconds to score. In the event of a draw, it would then go to sudden death. Lucy, Abbie and Jessica took our penalties and of course Jess had the unenviable task of being in goal. When their turn came, both Lucy and Abbie managed to round the very mobile St. Geroge’s keeper but they had both been forced wide and their shots narrowly missed the posts. Jess saved the first St. George’s penalty but with them 1 – 0 up, Jessica had to score to keep us in the running. She did just that which meant the St. Goerge’s girl needed to score with their 3rd penalty to win, which she did. So, it wasn’t to be but as I explained to the girls, we had still qualified for the semi finals, this was only to decide which team we were to play. As it turned out, we met George Heriot’s in the semis.

St. Mary’s 0, George Heriot’s 5

As you can see, Heriot’s were strong and better than us, possibly not 5 goals better, but they were extremely clinical in front of goal and deserved to win. I enjoyed the game especially as the girls created many chances of their own and came so close to scoring. However, despite periods of sustained pressure, we couldn’t quite stage a come back but the girls came off the pitch having given  everything and I was very proud of their efforts.
I had the pleasure of umpiring the final between Heriot’s and Mary Erskine’s. The level of hockey on show was without doubt a step up from anything we’d seen all morning and it too went to running penalties. MES won this but they needed sudden death penalties to overcome the Heriot’s girls.

Very well done, girls. You all played some superb hockey today, as you have all season and I have thoroughly enjoyed being your coach. I hope you all pursue your hockey careers with the vigour, skill and tenacity that has made you such a successful team this season. Thank you and good luck.

U13 Kilgraston Tourn 2

Mr P.

Jules Birdsall, 20/03/2017

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