Fettes hosted the IAPS Scottish Qualifiers on what was a freezing cold afternoon. It was a round-Robin format involving 7teams including Sedbergh Junior School for the first time. We began with a tough test against Loretto, who like us, were unbeaten on the circuit. It took some time to break them down and we almost did it had it not been for an unbelievable stick save by the Loretto goalie, diving to his right. However, we got the breakthrough thanks to some good finishing from Cody and Jack and we won the game 3-0. Our formation was working well and Leo in goal didn’t have much to do.
The second match, was against Fettes. They had improved since last week and were passing the ball well, out to their wings. Once we started stringing some of our own passes together, we managed to get the goal we needed to settle down and then a second followed shortly after. It went a bit flat and we were caught at the back trying to be too clever and Leo couldn’t do much about the strong finish from the Fettes player. The lead didn’t last for long when Jack and Cody linked up again, restoring the 2 goal advantage. The game ended 4-1.
After a break, we had Sedbergh. We played them yesterday at Peffermill and it was lovely to see them travel north to gain some more hockey experience. We won the game 6-0 but Sedbergh definitely improved over the course of the day and we look forward to seeing them again next year.
Belhaven were our next opponents and Jack was individually very good in the first half. We were 5 nil up by half time and we changed things around with subs, Seb and Max coming on and slotting in well. Final score 6-0.
The next game was crucial. Craigclowan were also unbeaten and a loss would have put them into contention for the overall tournament win. However, we really found form and Jack began to pass the ball more, particularly to Glen who had worked hard all day on the right wing. His crossing was with pin point accuracy in this game and he demonstrated different weights of crosses. Cody was deadly in front of goal and latched onto everything Glen provided him with, scoring a first half hat trick. Older brother Jack got the 4th and then Cody got his 4th and the team’s 5th to win the game 5-0. We defended really well high up the pitch with Cody in particular, forcing the Craigclowan player to pass allowing Jack to pick up the scraps. This game was a terrific example of how well we can play when we pass the ball into the wide channels and also how much we can do when we work together in defence
In our final game against Ardvreck, the opposition did really well in the opening minutes. We needed a bit of a wake-up call and they threatened on a few occasions. Leo made some very important saves as they managed to find the through-ball (something we need to work on stopping). Max and Edward got on the score-sheet in this match with some superb reverse hits.
Throughout the afternoon, we were solid at the back with Quin and Rory in particular but Seb has learned about transitioning the ball to the right faster and technically is a competent ball player. Edward did a great job at left half, defending against the opposition right wingers. Jack conducted the midfield and has begun to bring others into the game. Glen gave everything on the right wing and his pace and hard crossing are two great weapons to have. Max deputised magnificently in various positions, showing skill and strength. Leo did not have a lot to do and will get plenty more action down south, but when called upon, he showed good concentration and made some great saves. Cody was superb upfront. For me, he was our top player, not just for his goals but the way he ran himself into the ground in every match and pressed the opposition into making mistakes.
We are now really excited about the prospect of travelling down to Tonbridge School for the UK National Finals and with the success of the U11 Girls last term, we are looking to them for inspiration and believe we can compete. We are aware that it is another level at the Naional finals but if we can pass the ball better and play as a team, there is no reason why we cannot compete against some of the top hockey schools in the country.
Well played, boys – things to work on but you should be very keen to do so in order to give it your best shot at the Finals.