There was much excitement on the bus as five Year 4 girls (Robyn-Victoria Sorensen, Tisa Carr-Hartley, Tara Grammaticas, Tanisha Mutula and Siana Havelock) and three Year 3 girls (Marina McRae, Ella Cheffings, Hayley Calder) travelled with the Under 9 boys team to Hillcrest Prep for their Under 9 Hockey Festival.
They were on for the first match against Brookhouse. Having never played them before, Brookhouse were an unknown quantity and it took some time for the girls to settle. When they did, they played some controlled hockey and some quick and skillful play by Marina McRae meant we slotted home an important goal, winning the match 1-0. Next up were old rivals, Pembroke. This is always a tough match but the girls outplayed Pembroke with their quick thinking, strong passes and tenacity in their attacking 'D'. They were sadly unable to convert the four penalty corners that they won and had to be content with a 0-0 draw.
Our third game was against Braeburn who had a remarkable player who had already smashed 2 goals passed St. Andrew's in their previous match. We knew this would be our toughest match so far. Braeburn converted a penalty corner half way through the game but The Banda girls didn't give up and kept pushing forwards. Some quick thinking and a lovely angled shot by Siana Havelock, meant that we pulled the score back to 1-1. The Banda defence, and goal keeper Tanisha Mutula in particular, did very well to repel several waves of attack from Braeburn and we scraped through with a well deserved 1-1 draw.
With three teams in our section equal on points, it now came down to our last game against St. Andrew's. It was a must win game or we would not qualify for the Final. Thankfully, The Banda girls maintained their composure in front of goal and took an early lead thanks to another goal from Marina McRae. Despite some slightly scrappy play the girls held on to their lead to win the match 1-0.
At the end of the group stages, with two wins and two draws each, we were equal on points with Pembroke.Thankfully we had scored a total of 3 goals against their 2 so we were through to the Final against the winners of the other section, Kenton.
The final proved to be a tense and evenly contested affair with no one able to break the deadlock. This meant that the result would now be determined by a penalty shoot out. This was an incredibly nerve wracking affair for all concerned (especially the Coach!) but the girls held their nerve to score 2 out of their 3 attempts. Unfortunately Kenton were able to match our score which meant that we shared the winner’s title.
A huge well done to all the girls who competed! They played with fantastic spirit and determination. This is the second festival the Under 9 girls have won and I hope they will continue to build on this success next term and in the years to come!
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