Belhaven Hill School

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

Boys' Hockey: IAPS 7s Tournament

Boys' Hockey: IAPS 7s Tournament

Opponents:      IAPS 7s Tournament
Date:                  Wednesday, 5th February
Time:                  1 pm
Venue:               Fettes

The Tournaments are very different affairs to stand-alone matches with ebbs and flows of energy and momentum, especially in fairly cold weather, and it is always interesting to see how the team develops over the course of the day. Today’s IAPS Regional Qualifier, at Fettes, was no different.

The top two teams in today’s tournament were to qualify for the National Finals and while we knew it was unlikely to be us, we were still determined to play some good hockey and compete in every match.

The first match, against Craigclowan, set the tone for the rest of our tournament, being a very even affair. I do feel that we had the better of most of the match though both teams had chances. Despite some decent ball in their circle, we lacked that final killer punch. It took a PC to finally break the deadlock and it was Thomas who put it into the back on the net. 1 - 0.

Casterton (Sedbergh’s junior school) were our next opposition and we didn’t really know what to expect. They were well structured but we dealt with them well and had a good number of chances of our own. Theo made some excellent runs out wide while Wilfred was solid in the middle and Rory began to get to grips with things at the back. Unfortunately, the boys switched off for about 3 seconds and when one of their lads collected the ball just outside the top of the circle, they stood and watched instead of closing him down while he took a couple of steps forward, raised his stick and slammed one home. 0 - 1.

One team stood out at the tournament - Cargilfield, who are a real class act this season. While in no doubt that we were extremely unlikely to win the game, I exhorted the boys to step up and make them fight for every single bit of possession. The final result was 0 -  3 but I could not have been more delighted with how the boys played. We held them at bay for the first 7 minutes which was the longest period of time they went goalless the whole day. Not only that, but as the game wore on, we had some great opportunities of our own. Impressive.

As mentioned at the start, tournaments are funny things and after the exertions of the Cargi match, it was not unexpected that there was a dip in the next match, against Fettes where we, arguably, played our least impressive hockey of the day, conceding twice. There was some success in a single goal. 1 -2.

St. Olave’s, another team who’d made the journey north to play in this qualifier, were another unknown force and here again, we saw a very close match. So close in fact, that nothing separated the teams for 15m 57 seconds of the 16m long match. Heart-wrenchingly, it was in the final fifteen seconds, with Belhaven on the edge of their circle, that the ball was turned over and one of their lads ran 40 yards unchallenged before offloading to a waiting teammate who snuck it past a lunging Kit. 0 - 1

And so to our final match - Ardvreck. By this time a well-chilled  group of boys took to the pitch determined to end on a high note but (alas!) things didn’t initially go to plan as it was Ardvreck who scored first, late in the first half. This was actually a good thing as it woke the boys up a bit and they started to play a bit in the second half. Harry continued to be strong on the ball and delivered some better quality passes while Jack worked hard at the back and showed an impressive level of discipline while pressing forward at appropriate times. Thomas made some good runs and was more of a threat in the circle, forcing the defenders to make decisions. He scored on and then Theo followed it with a well-deserved goal of his own to seal the win. 2 - 1.

Apart from a disappointing showing against Fettes, I was mostly very pleased with how the boys did and, against Cargi, they played their best hockey of the season thus far. They are learning every match they play and that is brilliant to see.

Belhaven Hill  1   -  0  Craigclowan
Belhaven Hill  0  -  1   Casterton
Belhaven Hill  0  -  3  Cargilfield
Belhaven Hill  1   -  2  Fettes
Belhaven Hill  0  -  1  St. Olave’s
Belhaven Hill  2  -  1  Ardvreck

MOTM: I don’t usually pick one for tournaments but I think Wilfred and Theo deserve this one for their work-rate throughout.