Soham’s Comeback: Under 16s hockey

On the cold but sunny morning of Monday the first of October, thirteen girls woke up, determined and thirsty for victory. In the past, having only had a team of barely eleven players, our hockey team this year was stronger than ever; featuring thirteen eager players – two from Year Ten and the rest from Year Eleven – who took time out of their busy schedule to participate in this particular tournament. This year’s team consisted of Micaela Steyn (captain), Libby Coleman, Maia Capp, Izzy Hayward, Chloe Boneham, Mia Yearn, Ellie Desborough, Megan Kolici, Elli-Rai Quinn-Nicholls, Jess Hollingsworth and, of course, myself (as well as our two year tens: Robyn Henry-Jones and Emily Sargeant).

We arrived at our destination around quarter to two in our glistening and pristine ‘Soham College’ mini bus, full of energy and laughter due to the collection of tunes Mr Clarke and Mr Dreuitt blasted on our bus (who I would like to thank dearly, for taking time out of their day to drive us all to the tournament and encourage us, despite our poor play at times). The bus ride was long yet energetic; we were eager to reach our destination and play our rivals: St Mary’s private school and St Bede’s – both renowned for being very prestigious and high performing schools. We had to be on our best game as we had tough competitors, both of which defeated us last year – much to our dismay.

After arriving, we quickly rushed off to the changing rooms to get changed into our ‘kits’ (which in reality were the boy’s old rugby shirts from about three years ago; brought as an attempt to make us look more uniformed). Regardless of wearing matching boys’ tops and all looking equally ridiculous, we still had our heads held high and were determined on winning this tournament. When we arrived, it turned out we were the lucky team who got to sit the first match out, giving us a great advantage as it gave us an opportunity to scope out our opposing team’s strengths and weaknesses and who their stronger players were.

So whilst the other girls had a little gossip session and a somewhat thorough warm up, Mr Dreuitt and I made note of the teams’ strengths and flaws. We were quite taken aback as to how high the expectation really was; St Bede’s were absolutely smashed by St Mary’s (6-0!), although their poor goalkeeper, quite clearly, worked incredibly hard and made some astounding saves. After watching that match, we were more nervous than originally anticipated. Seeing how high our competition actually was, we seemed to have slightly underestimated the skill we expected our competitors to have.

Nethertheless, we all ran into the pitch to where our positions were placed – all looking forward to our first game versus St Mary’s. Deep down, we all knew we weren’t going to win this match due to St Mary’s having so much more experience as a team and playing on astro turf, which most of our team had not experienced. The first half of our match against St Mary’s did not go so well; by half time we were 4-0 down and had almost no motivation or confidence left. However, due to a particularly motivating speech from Mr Dreuitt we picked ourselves back up, despite St Mary’s holding a lead. We were told by Sir to forget the first two goals – they were purely by the chance and luck of St Mary’s managing to catch our goal keeper, Izzy Hayward, off guard for a few short seconds.

During the second half, only one goal was scored by our opposition. Maia Capp took quite a ghastly fall as she ended up falling over one of the opponents sticks, taking a nasty tumble; she continued to play and push herself. Although we weren’t able to get a goal in, we still finished the match with pride. We ended up finishing the match and losing 5-0 to St Mary’s; remaining optimistic about our next match against St Bede’s.

During our second match, we all really picked ourselves up and worked much better as a team. Our tactics had improved drastically within the first three minutes of the match and the score was 1-0 thanks to the flawless goal scored by yours truly – with a beautiful assist from Robyn (who worked herself so hard in the first match). I have to speak incredibly highly of her for really pushing herself to the max. During the first half of our much more successful match, some stunning tackles and passes were made between me and Libby Coleman; which were then followed by some equally as flawless and smooth passes between Robyn and Maia; and then passed up to Jess Hollingsworth to make an attempt of goal. Although by the second half we were winning, we didn’t let our guard down once – which is why we ended up winning the match 1-0. We swapped our goal keeper for this match: Izzy Hayward swapped with the midfielder, Megan Kolici.

Overall, we finished the tournament on a high note winning one of two matches. There was a brilliant buzz in the air on the bus ride home, full of chatter and laughter as our team basked in victory after winning our second match. The players remained optimistic – broadly smiling – despite our loss. We were full of pride, as a team.

 

Written by Molly Shaw – Year 11

Image courtesy of Jeffrey F Lin @unsplash.com

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