Belhaven Hill School

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

Boys' Hockey: 1st v Riley

Boys' Hockey: 1st v Riley

1st V Riley House (Strathallan)

22nd January, 2020

Today the 1sts headed north for a match against Riley House (the junior school of Strathallan), at Strathallan. After last week’s match, we changed our structure slightly as I sought to encourage the boys to use the wide channels.

After a quick warm-up, it was straight into action with Riley letting us take the hit-off. I was pleased with the boys’ endeavour in the first half and there was no doubt that we had the best of it, surging into their final quarter again and again. Tommy was effective as LB, and linked up decently with Harry who was good in attack. Wilfred was very busy in the middle, attacking well but also falling back in defence.

Unfortunately, though we spend long periods in their half, we were ineffective in the D, for the most part with crosses not being precise, shots inaccurate or insipid and movement sketchy. Eventually, in the twelfth minute, we won a penalty corner. The initial shot wasn’t great but then Theo picked it up and managed to slot it into the corner for the first goal of the match.

At half time, I gave the boys two targets: use the wide channels and show more urgency in attack, making runs and so on. I was pleased that they, to a large extent, did so. Thomas perked up as striker and began to get into good areas while Theo and Wilfred both surged forward to good affect as soon as we won the ball.

For the first 10 minutes of the half, we continued to dominate proceedings but then Strath., inexorably, began to work their way back into the game. As they pressed hard, our mids (and defenders) were caught out of position a few times and they made a number of sorties into our D. Eventually, in the 15th minute, their breakthrough happened and they equalised.

With five minutes remaining, the boys threw everything into the attack and had a couple of chances but then were caught napping and Strath. found themselves with a one-on-one against our ‘keeper, Hayden (who’d already made some fine saves). It should have been a certain goal and I was already sighing that great sigh of defeat when the shot came - and it was a fine shot, flying, bullet-like, 12 inches off the ground towards the goal. And then Hayden saved it! Whew!

So, the match ended in a draw, leaving me feeling slightly aggrieved as we certainly dominated three-quarters of the match. While there were many good elements to our play today, there remain some significant areas on which to work if we hope to hold our own against some of the bigger teams on the circuit. Friday’s session will focus on tackling and passing.

Final Result:        Belhaven Hill  1  - 1  Riley House     

MOTM: Theo - excellent work-rate, especially in the 2nd half.