End of Season Sports' Reports
A review of Belhaven Hill's sports' teams
Girls' Hockey and Boys' Rugby
Autumn Term 2022
This year, the girls naturally blended as a team from the start.
Ottie quietly shut down attacks using her physical presence, every game she seemed to pull out a special save.
Izzi controlled the movement of the defensive line from the middle, making sure the gaps were filled as the attack progressed forward, rocking the boat nicely.
Lily channelled attacks off the side or onto the base line with relentless energy, predicting the next move of the attacker before she pounced with a tackle.
Louisa linked the play with the midfield, using her strong sweep to find a space for the ball behind the opposition.
Sophie and Alice worked together in the middle to force the ball between the defensive lines for Willow or Bea to pick up.
Sophie’s quiet leadership was all done by example, her hard work and consistency in sessions and matches set a high standard for the rest of the squad.
Alice was tireless in getting a shot on goal as soon as she entered the D, forcing the defence on to the back foot.
By the end of the season, Willow’s strike was formidable, and woe betide anyone between her and the goal once she released the swing.
Bea set the bar for positional awareness; she was the first to lead into space for every free hit; she anticipated the next ball well and created opportunities for Willow, Alice and Sophie to capitalise on.
Maya has worked her way up the ranks this season, each game showing her growing match intelligence as she slipped into the defensive line up.
Amelia has become a chameleon player, using her many talents to perform in any position, she has scored goals, set up goals and stopped goals.
For my last season of hockey at Belhaven, I couldn’t have asked for a more hard-working and willing squad. They played seven matches and two tournaments. There were 10 goals scored with only 13 against. Each game was close and drew compliments from the opposition coaches. Four girls represented Belhaven at the Thistles and two were awarded colours. Well done to all involved.
Captain: Sophie G
Most Valuable player: Sophie G
Most Improved Player: Louisa G
Colours: Sophie G, Alice R
Thistles Representatives: Sophie G, Louisa G, Alice R, Ottie O
Though the 2nd Team’s 2022 season was one of mixed results on the scoreboard, it was nonetheless, a great success.
With only 21 one senior girls in the group and one or two inevitably not available for selection to matches due to injury or other commitments at any given point, it really was a matter of ‘all hands on deck’. Though this had the potential to be a bit disruptive or disheartening, it was actually a real boon as the girls very quickly developed a determined, willing-to-adapt, give-things-a-go attitude and worked hard to support each other.
Early training showed that there was much potential within the group and certainly lots of enthusiasm. In particular, I was impressed by just how keen some of those girls who were picking up a stick for the first time (Blanca, Victoire & Jourie) were to get to grips with the mysteries of the sport. I was also pleased to discover that our ranks had been swelled by a new goalie in Sienna.
The season kicked off with a match against Cargilfield who always produce strong hockey teams and the girls were certainly outskilled in this game. It was, however, also the first time that I saw hints of the grit that would come to identify these girls as, despite shipping a number of goals, they never gave up and for large parts of the game kept them at bay, led by Charlotte who remained determined at the back, Amelia in the midfield who was always willing to take on the opposition and Liv in goal who made a number of fine saves.
Loretto were next up and the girls strung together some good passes in his one and started to show a bit more positional awareness. Iona was tenacious in this game and Joury began to show some of her determination too. We ended with a pleasing win here.
A trip south to Mowden followed with the girls getting another good win under their belts. I was delighted with how they started to move the ball into the wide channels in this game. Maya seemed to grow in confidence here, making a number of good carries and Elektra showed her potential as a forward, scoring a cracking goal. Lottie, too, distributed well here.
St. Mary’s were too strong for us despite a solid performance form the girls and then we suffered a bit of a blip against Strath with a horrible display in the first half. Credit to the girls, however, as they rallied in the second.
I was delighted that the girls got the opportunity to play an 11-a-side match against Ardvreck and they really enjoyed the experience, making use of the space and time on the ball that playing on a full pitch affords. It was a good, close game with Victoire covering a staggering amount of ground and Sienna having a very good day in goal.
We finished off the season with matches against Fettes and Loretto, both of which ended in defeats, which was a disappointing way to end, but which took nothing away from the rest of the season.
It has been a pleasure to be involved in the coaching of the senior girls in 2022; they are a cheery, enthusiastic group who have supported and encouraged each other, delighting in one another’s successes. I have witnessed girls new to the sport developing a real passion for it, girls who started off as solid second team players earning the opportunity to play for the firsts and tremendous developments in skills, positional awareness and courage in all of them. It is a mark of the season & the girls that there were a number of the form 1s who were genuinely upset after the Loretto match, when they realised they’d not play for Belhaven again.
There are some bright prospects for next year and for those who will not be playing another season for Belhaven, I wish them all the best in their future hockey careers.
Played 7 Won 2 Lost 5 Drew 0
Player of the Season: I think this has to be shared by Lottie & Charlotte for their effort and improvement.
The Under 11 girls have improved immensely this term. Although we have not had a huge number of wins this season, the girls’ sporting attitude and skill were very impressive. Even against the toughest teams, such as Loretto, the girls held up their heads and kept going until the end. Wendy has been a brilliant captain and, with her vice-captain Ottilie, led the team in two tournaments and many matches.
Maggie and Emily worked wonderfully on the wings and both scored some great goals. Willow, the goalie, and our defensive wall India, Bella and Daisy saved many an attempt on goal. With strong tackles and hard hits, they could clear the ball out of the D.
Ottilie was our top goal scorer of the season and worked well with Iris, Wendy and the wings to pass the ball up the pitch to score.
I have really enjoyed working with the girls and they all deserve to be very proud of their sporting efforts this season.
Under 11 Player of the Season: Wendy C
Belhaven 2 - 0 Cargilfield
Belhaven 4 - 2 Loretto
Belhaven A 3 - 2 St. Mary's A
Belhaven B 2 - 2 St. Mary's B
Belhaven 7 - 2 Fettes
Belhaven 4 - 2 Loretto
The start of the term seems so long ago now, when the U9 girls picked up their hockey sticks, some for the first time, and were ready to learn new skills. We had plenty of time before the first match to work on moving with the ball, dribbling and perfecting our push passes. Ending each session with a short game, allowed the girls to quickly get to grips with positions and the rules of the game.
The first match of the season was against Cargilfield, whom we knew were going to be a strong team. The Belhaven girls started their first match with great determination, high fives when they scored goals and with an excellent match tea that followed, they soon showed they were keen for more matches.
Every session, the girls were keen to improve upon their skills and their next match against Loretto was a closer game for them. They worked hard on the pitch to keep control of the ball and bounced back, when Loretto scored against them, to stay ahead.
Their next match against St. Mary’s saw all the U9 girls travel to Tweedbank, along with the Form 6s for their first match. Two even teams faced a well-drilled St. Mary’s squad and this was the toughest match of the term by far. One match resulted in a win and the other finished in a draw and all the girls showed a great display of skills against a talented opposition.
Their next match, against Fettes, saw them shine with their skills over their opponents. Quickly taking free passes, using the width of the pitch and making some great passes – their skills had really improved by this game.
The final match of the season was a return match against Loretto and a final trip in the minibus. This was another very closely fought match and it really could have ended either way. Belhaven, though, showed great determination to keep control right up until the final whistle to win their last match of the season.
What a super season you girls have had this term. You work hard in every games session to improve upon your skills. These skills are used well in matches and you are finally beginning to space out on the pitch rather than flock around the ball like ‘bees in a honeypot’. It has been great fun coaching you this term and seeing your enjoyment for the game. Well done everyone!
Sometimes a team can come ready formed. Sometimes you need to build your team as the season goes on. This term, it was certainly the latter for our senior boys' rugby. With only five regular starters returning from last year, there was an abundance of opportunity for boys to make their claim. Throughout the season more and more boys put their hand up in training and gained their rightful place in our team.
Our first match was a chastening defeat away to Cargilfield 54-7. The effort could not be faulted but the structure was not yet established, and this made a big difference for our side. However, the building process started and slowly but steadily, the performances improved. A fantastic performance was to follow at home to Merchiston. Ultimately losing the game 35-7 this was a massive step up and gave the boys some confidence playing so well against the best opposition on the circuit.
Next came Mowden Hall, and while improved performances were important, winning is the best thing for growing confidence. This game was something of an epic with the teams exchanging the lead throughout the game. Belhaven came out on top 31-28 and the season was now rolling. A resounding victory against St. Mary's by 53 points to 7 was followed by a comfortable series win in a 3 game seven-a-side series against Ardvreck. All of a sudden Belhaven had won more fixtures than they had lost.
Next up was an away trip to Fettes and a ferociously fought battle saw Belhaven desperately unlucky to come away with a loss on conversions. The final score reading 35-27. Our final fixture was away to Loretto with the outcome determining a winning or losing season. The final score was flattering to Loretto with a 56-14 loss and while the opposition proved too strong in the end, I have rarely seen a defensive display so determined and full of the values I love in a team. Work-ethic, assertiveness, bravery, and brotherhood. At times, rugby can be about standing shoulder to shoulder with your teammates and saying to the opposition, this far, and no further. Our team’s final performance exemplified this idea.
Ultimately, the first team won three and lost four Wednesday fixtures. But, as I have said before, not all losses are failures. What we take away from our experiences is what counts. Our team also made the quarter finals in the Ardvreck sevens and finished co-winners of the shield at the Loretto sevens. Six of our team went on to represent the Thistles.
A successful season? I can’t help but say yes, given the strides all our players made in improving.
I’m already looking forward to what next season will bring.
Try scoring record for 13-a-side matches:
Harry Br & Fin 5 tries
Ted 3 tries
Johnny, Jamie & Archie 2 tries
Harry Ba, Alfie & Beetle 1 try
The U11As have had a successful season. In the seven Wednesday fixtures played they have won six of them relatively comfortably, with the only blemish being the loss to Cargilfield in the first game of the season by a single try. The boys then made amends by beating them comfortably twice at the Loretto 7s.
In the two 7s tournaments this season, Belhaven finished Plate Winners at Loretto and came 2nd place at Cargilfield. On both occasions Belhaven were only beaten by a team that fielded more players than the tournament rules allowed. Whilst frustrating on the day, the boys showed great maturity and resolve to come back from these upsets.
The statistics speak for themselves (including 7s tournaments):
- 22 games played, 18 wins, 1 draw and 3 defeats
- 128 tries scored from 9 different scorers
The boys have formed a cohesive group, with strength lying in depth. Their defence line and powerful tackles caused problems for numerous teams, but it was their attacking flare and structure that was particularly impressive. Charlie T and Rollo F have each scored over 30 tries for the season, which is a quite ridiculous number. Hector J and Harry F also led from the front always producing outstanding performances when required. The contributions of Hamish L, Ollie T, Noah B and Wilbur B have also been key in making the season the success that it has been.
I very much look forward to seeing the boys develop and have no doubt that they will be an exciting side to watch at U13 level.
The under 11B team have had a brilliant year. They have progressed hugely and they should all be very proud of themselves. Many of the boys have not had much experience of rugby before this season and have taken each and every session with an open mind and have been rewarded because of their attitude.
We played against some strong opponents throughout the year and we played some very good rugby. We won just under half of our matches, which is a brilliant effort. We have also seen some of our B team players progress to the A team, Geordie, Jack and Tristan, well done!
I hope all the boys enjoyed the season even when it was below zero temperatures!
Thank you for all the effort you put in throughout the season, you have been a joy to coach.