1st Team Hockey Tour Report

15 Sep 2015

The girls departed for their annual hockey tour on Friday lunch time hoping to gain some much needed experience and gel as a squad. The first fixture was a late one against Brandeston Hall, Framlingham College, and the girls started in a rather sleepy fashion. Witham let Brandeston have too much of the ball and at half time were lucky to still be at a stalemate. After stern words at the break, the girls fired out of the blocks and started to use the width. After a well worked short corner, Isabella Manara set up Ella Turner who smashed the ball home to take the advantage. Before the girls could settle back, a Brandeston attacker skipped round five of our defenders untouched before lashing home a very impressive equaliser – a real taste of the quality of the opposition. This was a frustrating goal to concede with silly tackles diving in but the Witham girls composed themselves to maintain the draw until the final whistle. A great result to start with, against a skilful opposition but one which provided plenty of opportunities to improve.

WHS drew 1-1 vs Brandeston

After the match we travelled for a big supper and night at our hotel. With a rare leisurely lie in until 0800 and after a huge breakfast we walked to the beach for some fun at the arcades and a chilly dip in the sea…for some. Fish and chips provided the ultimate warm up and we drove the short journey onto Orwell Park ready for their annual pre-season tournament. After a slightly disappointing attacking display the previous night, the girls were raring to put this right. With seven games to play, there were certainly plenty of opportunities. Witham started like a team possessed with the issues from the previous night addressed immediately; the team moved the ball quickly wide and utilised the speed and skill of captains Isabella Manara and Philippa Hix down the flanks. Opportunities came quickly with Georgia Blackman and Sophie Hamilton holding firm at the back feeding the ball forward to the dominant and outstanding Ella Turner. Alice Farmer and Harriet Anthony showed their maturity and utilised their strong sticks well with JoJo Chawner showing intelligent play along with an excellent understanding of the game. With such a small amount of time for each game, the importance was on scoring quickly and Anya Batty showed what a clinical forward she can be, pestering the defence and supporting her team throughout. The girls literally were a transformed side looking relaxed and composed and although they had a defeat in the final match against the National Runners up, Orwell Park, it didn’t take the gloss off a superb turnaround in performance.

WHS won 1-0 vs Barnardiston

WHS won 1-0 vs RHS

WHS drew 0-0 vs Woodbridge

WHS won 2-0 vs Ipswich B

WHS won 1-0 vs Ipswich A

WHS won 1-0 vs South Lee

WHS lost 2-0 vs Orwell Park

Food was involved in most of the girls’ activity on tour and after TWO suppers, we enjoyed the amazing Orwell grounds with inventive games including ‘dizzy penalties’ in which the girls alone showcased some very amusing goal scoring. After an interesting film and more food, the girls retired to bed and from all accounts got some sleep. The next morning we woke to another huge breakfast and left for Colchester Zoo. The girls had already compared themselves to different animals and the race was on to find their lookalikes – we unfortunately couldn’t find Sid the Sloth but finding the lazy bear called ‘JoJo’ was a highlight.

I would like to say a massive thank you to Orwell Park for hosting us again so wonderfully and to all of our parents for their support. The weekend was quite genuinely one of the best tours we have taken; the squad played some extremely impressive hockey and the girls were a real pleasure to take away with us. A huge thank you must also go to Miss Stanton for all her help and guidance on the tour. Girls – you did yourself proud and were a real credit to the school and more importantly yourselves!