In our first National Tournament for four years our U11 Girl Hockey team travelled to Lee Valley Hockey centre, home of the London 2012 Olympic hockey matches on 11th November – just a stone throw from the Olympic Stadium. Our first match against Russell House, was exciting from the start – a terrific opening goal from Elsa, put us 1-0 up.  We dominated the game, but in the last few minutes, Russell House put pressure on our defence, leaving our goalkeeper Elspeth having to make several incredible saves, but eventually they managed to equalise. 

Our second match was thrilling against St Mary’s, Hampstead. The whole team worked incredibly hard and played some excellent hockey. Emilia, Amelia, Libby and captain Grace, played superbly together and helped Elsa score two more cracking goals, that gave us our first win. 

Our last game in the group stages of the competition, was against Littlegarth 2, tough opposition but an all-round plucky team performance, particularly Elizabeth, Lucy and Kitty, left us with a 0-0 draw. 

We were delighted to discover that we were top of our group, which qualified us for the highest Cup round on Stadium Pitch 1, quite a spectacle. 

Undoubtedly our best performance of the day was a 0-0 draw against the eventual winners of the tournament Littlegarth 1. Our defence were unstoppable, Elizabeth played some of the best hockey the independent umpires had ever seen.  She bravely tackled very skilled players to take the ball off them.  It was at this point, she was spotted and later presented with the Player of the Tournament award – such a well-deserved accolade.  

With three matches still to play, our girls were getting tired but did not give up.  Playing against Weston Green School, Libby, Elsa and Amelia dug deep in the last few minutes of the game and managed to score a goal, another win! 

Our final game in the Cup group stage, was against Crackley Hall who put pressure on our defence, Elspeth, Lucy and Elizabeth but they were simply too good and prevented us conceding any goals.  Our attackers just could not manage to find the back of the net, to give us a win.  Final score 0-0. 

Having come second overall in the Cup group, we were then in the third and fourth play-offs against Akeley Wood, after 10 mins neither team had scored so it went to penalty flicks – a very nerve-wracking experience for the girls.  Elspeth managed to save all their penalties but because we did not score either, it went to sudden death penalties.  A superb goal from Emilia and a save from Elspeth, mean we were bronze medal winners.

An outstanding achievement, Huge congratulations to all the girls for their efforts and to Mr Hearne and Mrs Schaper for their superb coaching.

As Player of the Tournament, Elizabeth was awarded a special prize ISA and Exsportise ‘Super Scholarship’ covering the full fees of a Summer residential hockey camp at Seaford College in West Sussex.  The week promises a intensive and fun group level coaching including skills, tactics, match play and drills as well as more individual skills; along with a range of sports science components including conditioning, nutrition, recovery, rehabilitation and match preparation including visualisation.  It is a truly superb opportunity and we are delighted for Elizabeth.

To round off the day and as an added treat, our team even got to meet Sabbie Heesh, English field hockey player and goalkeeper for Surbiton and the England and Great Britain national teams!