Hockey youngsters impress in Basingstoke event

By Donna Sutton and Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH HOCKEY CLUB UNDER 10s were hugely impressive as they attended an In2Hockey tournament in Basingstoke last weekend, finishing third out of fourteen teams in what proved to be an exhausting but rewarding experience for the young team.

The team featured eight players including six boys and two girls as per competition rules, who were led by coach Stuart Blower and umpire Sophie Price. Upon arrival at Basingstoke the youngster’s first challenge was to find a fully kitted goalkeeper for penalty corners.

This was not something the team had trained for and a selection process soon began featuring four defenders wearing face masks, with Tomas Sutton picked for this crucial position as the tournament got underway following warm exercises on the pitch.

The fourteen teams were divided into two pools of seven sides, with games lasting for 12 minutes in beautiful spring-like Hampshire sunshine. And Gosport started brilliantly with a clean sheet two-nil victory over Alton in their first game of the tournament.

The team followed this with another two wins as they beat Fleet & Ewshot (2-0) and sealed a narrow victory over Portsmouth (1-0) with defence proving key to their defence. And even when the team conceded they overcame this by winning two-one versus Havant.

The young side did face their first defeat in the fifth match of the day, losing narrowly to the eventual runners up Haselmere one-nil after a spirited display. But an undeterred Gosport did bounce back in style with a two-nil win over Winchester in their final group game.

Winning five games and losing one, Gosport comfortably sealed their semi-final place in the tournament which guaranteed at least fourth; a fine achievement for a side who were facing tough sides with greater experience of hockey events and action over recent times.

And this sadly showed in the semi final versus tournament favourites Basingstoke, who won out four-nil winners. This was despite some brilliant play from the Gosport team throughout the extended eighteen minute match as they were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.

This loss meant that Gosport were pitted against local rivals and pool A runners-up Fareham in a battle for third place; a play-off game that the team won 4-1 to seal the ‘bronze’ with some wonderful team play and clinical finishing the difference between the sides.

Finishing third was an outstanding achievement, with their only two defeats coming against runners-up Haslemere and eventual winners Basingstoke throughout their eight matches. It was also a fantastic team performance as Gosport scored 13 goals and conceded just seven.

And finally praise must also go to the coaching staff that managed to organise the event for Gosport; including umpire Sophie Price who was given the opportunity to referee the final between Haslemere and Basingstoke; a task she completed with absolute distinction.

The team is kindly sponsored by Ocean King and Chips of Forton Road Gosport; with readers invited to join their local and friendly club. They should contact @GosportHockey on Twitter or @Gosporthockeyclub via Facebook or by emailing www.gosportboroughhockeyclub.com or chairman_gbhc@gosportboroughhockeyclub.com.

PICTURED IN TEAM PHOTO (LEFT TO RIGHT): Oliver Bell, Lily Farmer, Jonah Royle, William Kemp, Oliver Blower, Angharad O’Meara, Jacob Davis and Tomas Sutton (GK).

Match results: 2-0 Win v Alton,  2-0 Win v Fleet and Ewshot,  1-0 Win v Portsmouth,  2-1 Win v Havant, 0-1 Loss v Haslemere, 2-0 Win v Winchester 0-4 Loss to Basingstoke (Semi), 4-1 win v Fareham (3rd Place).