U9A Hockey Team victorious at Bedford Modern Tournament

22 Oct 2014

Last Friday the U9A Hockey team made the lengthy trip to Bedford to join 11 other teams in the Bedford Modern annual tournament. The girls were drawn in a strong group and faced matches versus The Grove, St Faith’s and Akeley Wood (we met Akeley in the finals last year).

The girls made a fantastic start against The Grove: they were decisive in front of the goal and produced a 6-0 victory (Bella Fox 3; Matilda Craven 2; Sophie Marshall 1). Next up was St Faith’s who certainly had superb stick skills neatly evading our tackles on many an occasion. However, the ball was held equally by both teams with Witham perhaps having just slightly more attacking chances: however, neither side was able to score (0-0). Lastly, in the group stages, we played Akeley Wood who had lost just 0-1 to St Faith’s so we knew it would be a tough one. The Witham team perhaps had their best match of the day. The spacing on the pitch was terrific; there was lots of co-operative play and superb passing, especially from Charlotte Bingham and Poppy Wraith in the mid-field. Bella started off the scoring with a first touch shot off a cross (extremely impressive at U9 level); later she added another to her tally and Sophie Marshall really impressed in this game with her tenacity and positioning which was rewarded by a superb goal of her own (3-0).  

We had amassed enough points and goals to win our group. This then meant that we went through to a ‘finals group’ against Bedford Modern and Milton Keynes Prep.  Unfortunately we drew our two matches as back to back games with no break in between; a hard task meaning pretty much 24 minutes of continuous play. The girls, mostly 8 years old worked their socks off! First up was Bedford who had drawn against Milton Keynes in the first play-off match. Witham had most of the attacking ball in this match and had various chances to score, but there was just not enough spacing out, which meant that the forwards were just too tired when they got in the ‘D’ to make their shots count. However, after some pretty scrappy play in the Bedford ‘D’ with various shot attempts on goal there was a deflection off a defender giving the team a much needed 1-0 victory. After about a 2 minute break the girls were back in action against Milton Keynes: this was a terrific game and the ball was moved end to end and both teams really tried to hold their positioning. Witham had the first chance – a superb cross from Bella led to an excellent goal from Rose Brassey who was in exactly the right place at the right time! The girls really tired in the last couple of minutes and legs started to find it tough going; an attacking move in literally the dying seconds of the match led to a superb strike from a Milton Keynes forward, meaning that we drew the match 1-1.

Special mention goes to Josie Turner who played as the team’s defender all afternoon. Until the last few seconds she held firm for every match, was calm and collected under pressure and distributed the ball with sureness and maturity. We will long remember her making an important tackle against a strong Bedford attack, ending up on her knees and then playing the ball up the pitch to the mid-field from her knees…..all as if nothing unusual was happening! Gigi Granger was the team’s Goal Keeper and although she did not have much to do she made a fine start as GK playing her first ever matches.

However, as I am sure our supporters would agree this was a superb team effort with some very exciting play on show. Well done to Bella Fox (c), Matilda Craven, Charlotte Bingham, Sophie Marshall, Rose Brassey, Poppy Wraith, Josie Turner and Gigi Granger. And thank you to all the parents for their support and Nick Dickens who drove us and helped us all during the afternoon.