U13 Boys' Hockey IAPS Regional Qualifier
Our U13 Hockey Boys’ recently attended the IAPS Regional Qualifier held at Millfield School. The U13A boys were all ready and fired up for the matches as they played the opening game against Barrow Hill. Our structure in attack and defence looked solid and we reaped the rewards when we took the lead into halftime. The team eventually got a deserved second goal after some ground being made by the attacking players, the score ending 2-1.
The toughest game from the group stage of the tournament was arguably against Port Regis. We started well, applying superb pressure by holding our defensive shape and forcing errors. The boys worked tirelessly the whole half and took their opportunities well, as they netted a superb goal and looked fairly in control for the remainder of the game winning 1-0. A superb win against a good team!
In the next game against Clayesmore, we needed to win. The boys showed magic every now and then in attack and were able to take the lead. Once again our defensive structure was sound and teams were struggling to break us down, which meant we could exploit them on the counter as well as produce some fantastic passing moves all over the pitch. We held on and arguably should have scored a few more but were very happy with the 1-0 win.
The game against Mount Kelly was again very tough, but the boys put together some great passing and well-structured attacks. We definitely had more chances and should have converted more but they worked extremely hard and were deserved winners 2-0.
In the second phase of the tournament, Hazlegrove were our first match and they were definitely strong opponents. The game lacked a bit of fire but we held them well enough and had a few chances of our own but failed to hit the target and convert. In the second half, the boys seemed to get a little more energy but a well worked goal by Hazlegrove meant they needed to turn it up even more and in the last seconds of the game they had a hard-line ball right up the middle from D to D. Unfortunately we couldn’t convert the ‘magic’ ball into a goal and the end score was a 1-0 loss.
The next game saw the boys play some really great hockey. They needed to win the game against Hall Grove in order to qualify for the Nationals at the end of the season, and Hall Grove were in the way, also winners of their pool. The defence was vulnerable a few times but they kept their composure and held their own on each Hall Grove attack. We had a few short corners which we should have constructed better but just lacked a good hit from the top. The game went 0-0 after full time and then went into golden goal for 5 minutes. We conceded a short corner and were stretched again but our defence held firm as it had the whole day only conceding 2 goals so far in the day. We cleared the ball and managed to win a short corner for ourselves. With a great push out and a lovely hit from the top, the ball shot into the bottom left corner and we were in the Nationals! It was a great result for the boys; they were ecstatic and on a high, and it was great to see their hard work and courage be rewarded.
Our last game against Clifton was an opportunity to shuffle some of the players that hadn’t seen as much action during the tournament. This game was purely a formality, both teams having qualified for Nationals already. The boys coped really well and again the defensive shape looked firm and strong. Clifton scored with some good individual play but, in return, we soon found ourselves with a well taken opportunity and netted one of our own to tie the score. The game went to golden goal extra time and the Clifton side managed to sneak one in, with some lovely skills, the score ending in a 2-1 loss.
What a great day and congratulations to all the boys involved.