U13 Loretto Hockey Tournament
Sunday 29th September 2019
The squad: Freyja (captain), Emma (GK), Willa, Kiki, Daisy, Anna, Elena, Skye & Cadence
In a slight change to last year, yesterday saw the U11 rugby and hockey tournaments take place in the morning, with the U13 boys and girls playing in the afternoon. We dodged the showers on route to Musselburgh but stayed dry all afternoon. In fact conditions were pretty good. We met for lunch at midday, which then gave us time to warm up and prepare for our first game.
The day saw six teams combined into one pool, so a round robin format saw all teams play each other in the pool stages, with the first semi final being contested between 1st and 4th placed teams and the second between 2nd and 3rd. First up for us were Cundall Manor.
St. Mary’s 2, Cundall 0
This was a cracking opening game. We dominated play throughout and had we been a little more composed in front of goal, would perhaps have notched up a couple more. As it was, the girls played really well, looked comfortable on the ball and solid at the back. Skye scored both goals, the second being a reverse strike but I was delighted with the performances of all 9 squad members.
St. Mary’s 2, Gullane Hockey Club 0
There was no rest between games, so we were straight into our next meeting, this time against Gullane HC. With a couple of pointers to work on, the girls took to the pitch keen to maintain their momentum. Again, we worked hard and I was really pleased to watch their confidence grow. Willa, Cadence and Kiki continued to prove resolute at the back, so much so that Emma once again, had very little to do. Daisy, Freya and Anna ran tirelessly in the midfield and Skye and Elena made life for the Gullane defence, difficult! Freya scored both goals, one from open play and the other from a short corner and they proved the difference between the sides.
St. Mary’s 0, Loretto 1
Again, no rest between games meant we went into this one with limbs starting to tire but you wouldn’t have known. This was always going to be a tougher test as Loretto had also won all their games. The game started at a frantic pace and we in fact scored within the opening minute. We were umpiring our defensive ends, so the action was not mine to marshal but the goal was disallowed for a reason I wasn’t aware of. However, the girls remained focussed and there wasn’t a flicker of complaint. The game was very balanced, the majority being played in the middle of the pitch. Chances did come our way but nothing came of them and then as the game entered its final minute, a cross from a Loretto forward came off a defender’s stick and was pushed over the line to give the hosts a crucial advantage. We were tired and time was against us making a final surge of our own and the game ran through our fingers.
St. Mary’s 1, Belhaven 0
As ever, a Belhaven / St. Mary’s fixture brings out the best in the competitors and this game was no different. The girls had made the most of a ten minute break, refuelled and were eager to get back to it. Although we came away with another win, the girls lacked a bit of direction in this game. We kept our shape well and defensively looked after Emma well, who again was a spectator for much of the game, but I thought we might have been a little more clinical and effective with the ball. That said, the girls did what was needed and earned themselves another valuable 5 points.
St. Mary’s 0, Cargilfield 0
We were straight into our next game against Cargilfield. With Wednesday’s encounter still fresh, I was anxious that the girls might have stood off and let the Cargilfield girls dominate. However, not a bit of it. We played some lovely hockey. Defensively, once again, we were superb and the work rate of all the girls deserved nothing less than the draw. Cargilfield had won all their other matches so we were the first to get some points from them.
With the last of the pool games finished, we had finished in 3rd place. Loretto beat us into 2nd place having won all their games with the exception of their meeting with Cargilfield. So, the, first semi final was played between Cargilfield and Belhaven which Cargilfield won and the other semi final was another Loretto v St. Mary’s meeting.
Semi final: St. Mary’s 1, Loretto 0
What a cracking game this was. Having already seen the Loretto girls at close quarters, tactically we were much more astute this time and subsequently posed much more of a threat. Elena won us a short corner about half way through the game, which Freyja converted, much to the delight of the spectators. Loretto threw everything at us for the remaining six minutes but we held strong. Emma, at one point pulled off a superb save, a ball that ricocheted off her post which she managed to clear wide. Willa and Cadence also had a couple of match saving tackles and Kiki, Daisy, Freyja and Anna ran their socks off in the mid field. Skye and Elena came back to help defend so we perhaps weren’t as much of a threat in the final minutes, but they got the job done and won themselves a place in the final for the third consecutive year.
Final: St. Mary’s 0, Cargilfield 2
We met Cargilfield in the final last year and beat them on sudden death running penalties, which didn’t do my hair colour any favours! This year too, I could not fault the girls in this game. The day was starting to take its toll. Legs were tired, this was their 7th game with only two short breaks in between and they gave it their all. Cargilfield scored a cracking short corner about half way through the game and then managed to get a shot away through a crowded circle to get their second. We did our best to come back at them but we simply ran out of puff!
I could not have been more proud of the girls today. Their behaviour both on and off the pitch was impeccable, as ever, their effort levels and commitment for each other was fabulous and they came so close to winning their third consecutive Loretto tournament.
My thanks to Loretto for hosting another super day and to the substantial band of spectators for all their support and encouragement of the girls.