Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Boys' Hockey: 1st v Loretto

Boys' Hockey: 1st v Loretto

Boys' Hockey: 1st v Loretto

Date:     Wednesday, 29th January
Time:     2.30 pm
Venue:  Hallhill

The boys’ 1st hockey hosted Loretto at Hallhill today in bitter conditions and I think it is fair to say that everyone - spectators, players and coaches alike - were quite happy when the final whistle sounded.

With the winds at our backs for the first half, we were hopeful that we might have an edge but it (very) soon became apparent that we were up against a skilful and organised team. Within moments, Loretto pressed hard and soon found gaps and players unmarked while our lads struggled to deal with the pace of play. The first seven or eight minutes were grim, as Loretto made one sortie after another into our D, but through some miracle of fate and some darn impressive goalkeeping by Kit, we, somehow, managed to keep a clean sheet.

Then, fourteen minutes in, they won a PC and, though the first shot was cut off, the subsequent flick was a good one and despite the best efforts of Theo on the line, it hit the roof of the net to give them the lead.

I wouldn’t have been too surprised if being under the cosh for such extended periods of play caused the boys’ heads to go down but, much to my delight, it didn’t. In the final few minutes of the half, the boys in blue began to show what they were made of and pressed forwards themselves a few times. Brilliant.

Sport teaches and shows us many things but, for me, the most important of them is character. How do you react when you are winning? How do you react when you are in pain? Or losing? At half time I urged the boys to dig deep and keep fighting, no matter the fact that they were into the wind, no matter the fact they would probably lose, no matter the fact that they were on the edge of hypothermia.

Though we continued to spend more time in our own half than the opposition's for the remainder of the match, the boys seemed to take on board my entreaties and certainly kept working hard. Theo, in particular, seemed indefatigable and covered a lot of ground in attack and defence while Wilfred was very tenacious. Thomas made some good runs but also fell back more and more, helping out the mids and trying to secure the ball for himself - successfully on a number of occasions and he then managed to link up with James, Theo or Wilfred to put the Loretto backs under some pressure. Indeed, in the final five or so minutes, we had as many scoring opportunities, if not more, than Loretto.

Though I was pleased, to a large extent, with how our defenders improved over the course of the match, looking behind them and picking up the runners, it was our goalie, Kit, who was the standout player, being dynamic and making over twenty saves.

The final play of the match was yet another sortie by Loretto into our D and when Kit’s initial save was regathered and slammed past him at waist height, despite the result being a foregone conclusion, a diving Theo managed to thrust out his stick and deflect it in mid-air, off the line. Though this was a spectacular bit of individual skill, it was also an excellent demonstration of the determination shown by the entire team and was exactly what I’d asked for.

We lost this match because they were better than us, but by conceding only two goals and both of them from PCs, it (almost) felt like a win. Well done.

Belhaven Hill  0  -  2  Loretto

MOTM: Without a doubt –    Kit