Witham U11 Girls at Repton Tournament and Coached at Oakham

23 Sep 2014


Witham U11As began the season with a gruelling tournament at Repton School. Drawn against

S. Anselm’s, Fairfield, The Elms and Foremarke Hall, the girls knew that the competition would be tough.

Witham had to play four 15 minute games back-to-back – a test of strength and stamina for any U11 player! First up was The Elms and the girls produced a solid display with plenty of attacking promise. A 1-0 win set a good tone, but aside from an Ella Chandler goal the girls couldn’t get any further breakthroughs to increase the scoreline.

The second game was against Fairfield – the tournament winners in 2012. This game was tense and both teams showed real fight and spirit in the middle third. Chances came and went for both teams, with Ella Chandler getting a shot away in the last second of the match, only to see it saved by the Fairfield goalkeeper. A final score of 0-0 probably was a fair reflection of the game.

Third up were S. Anselm’s and the Witham girls started to get into a rhythm. With a significant amount of pressure, Witham finally opened the scoring through a well worked Alice Farmer goal. There should have been more in the game, but like the match against The Elms the scoreline remained at 1-0.

Knowing that victory in the final game would secure a win in the tournament, the girls were revved up to take on Foremarke. Sadly, the toll of three games played back-to-back already really showed and Witham were no match for the pace and slick play of Foremarke. A 5-0 defeat felt hard to take, but in truth had we have had a rest midway through our matches we would still have had some way to go to match Foremarke’s quality.

Our results were sufficient to give us the runner up position in the tournament and the girls left feeling happy that they had done themselves proud. Oh, and they also got to meet two England Hockey players (along with their Commonwealth Silver medals) – so not a bad day all round at all!

Well done to all the girls: Alice Farmer, Sophie Hamilton, Georgia Blackman and Harriett Anthony all looked comfortable in possession, whilst Lottie Sharman, Izzy Blackman and Bonnie Harris added good running and harrying of opponents. Ella Chandler was a livewire all day and Taggie Paganuzzi, though rarely tested in the opening three games, was reliable and excellent (with one superb save with the stick!) throughout.

England hockey stars coach U11 girls at Oakham

Sixteen Witham U11 hockey players had the chance to go to Oakham and be coached by three members of the England & GB Senior Women’s Hockey squad, who recently won silver medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Ellie Watton, Maddie Hinch and Lily Owsley were the special guests at Oakham School’s under-11 girls’ hockey coaching session, which was run by hockey coaching company MT13, along with Oakham Sports staff.  Over 160 girls from a number of schools including Witham enjoyed an afternoon of expert training and matches.

As a goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch was able to give specialist advice to the aspiring goalkeepers at the session, coaching them first on defensive positions and then sending them out to play in matches, putting what they had learnt into practice. The rest of the girls were split into groups and rotated around various different training activities, including exercises led by forwards Ellie and Lily. After over an hour of intensive coaching, the girls went into competitive matches to test their skills.

To round off the day, awards were given to the winning team, as well as individuals who had performed impressively. The prizes, which ranged from pairs of sunglasses to Osaka hockey sticks, were presented to pupils by Ellie, Maddie and Lily, who offered their congratulations and encouragement. All of the girls also had the opportunity to have their t-shirts and hockey sticks signed by the international players and a chance to see their Commonwealth Games silver medals.