Borders girls take the first steps into high-level hockey

Scottish Hockey National Under 18s competition at Peffermill.'Back row from left: Leia Mackinnon, Jo Arres, Isla Hewitson, Maris Cawthorn, Iona Kellett, Izzy Kyle, Jenny Wright, Morven Cawthorn, Caroline Duff (GK). Front row: Kirsty Logan, Lauren Grant, Sophie Aitchieson,  Rhona Gowans, Kirsty Millar
Scottish Hockey National Under 18s competition at Peffermill.'Back row from left: Leia Mackinnon, Jo Arres, Isla Hewitson, Maris Cawthorn, Iona Kellett, Izzy Kyle, Jenny Wright, Morven Cawthorn, Caroline Duff (GK). Front row: Kirsty Logan, Lauren Grant, Sophie Aitchieson, Rhona Gowans, Kirsty Millar

The highly successful Fjordhus Reivers Hockey Club achieved another first at the weekend, by competing in the National Club Under-18 girls cup competition at Peffermill.

A brave decision was taken by coaches at the beginning of the year to enter a team in to the event as the club knew that it would be tight finding enough players in this age group to face the best of the big city clubs.

Just three weeks before the competition the squad was still players short and it was up to five Under 16 club age group club players and two players from neighbouring KYDS (Kelso Youth Development Squad) to step up and help out.

The players certainly didn’t show any anxiety or fear of the big named teams and played with a confidence and composure that suggested they had trained and played together on a regular basis.

Their first game was against Clydesdale and from the outset Fjordhus took the game to their opposition and forced them in to making repeated errors. The defence of Morven Cawthorn, Rhona Gowans, Lauren Grant and Jenny Wright was impenetrable as they remained disciplined throughout the afternoon.

The midfield continued to thread through-balls to the strikers who peppered the Clyedsdale goal with shots and the first goal came for Fjordhus after 17 minutes from a great passing sequence down the left finishing with Maris Cawthorn slotting the ball home.

The team continued with real endeavour and fine attacking play from Isla Hewitson, Sophie Aitchieson and Jo Arres. A second half lapse in concentration saw Clydesdale win a penalty corner and a well drilled routine saw them draw level.

Reivers completed the second half dominating the game and were unlucky not to win when another fine move between Kirsty Millar, Iona Kellet and Kirsty Logan resulted in a goal which was unfortunately chalked off. Final Score: Fjordhus Reivers 1 Clydesdale 1.

The second game against current champions Watsonians could have been a big challenge for the Reivers, but much to the opposition’s surprise, the Borders girls came out fighting and put together some exciting, fast-paced hockey. The Reivers girls were out to win and the support from the crowd who were enthralled by the fast attacking play spurred them on to create a number of real opportunities.

However, a long hit through from the city side saw a scramble in the Reivers goalmouth and Caroline Duff, who had been outstanding so far, found her initial save fall in amongst a scrabble of players and somehow the ball made it over the goal line.

This loss of a goal only spurred the Reivers on and it became almost a one-sided affair for the remainder of the game with possession and territory all in favour of the Borders girls. Final score: Watsonians 1 Fjordhus Reivers 0. The results may not have favoured the Borders players, but coach Janet Jack said she had witnessed some great hockey by a tremendous group of young players.

“All the hard work that is going on in youth hockey across the Borders is coming to fruition and these girls who perhaps don’t have the same opportunities as the city sides are now playing and competing on equal terms,” she added.

“All players are part of the Regional Performance programme and demonstrated an exceptionally high level of skill and commitment within their play.”

The next round of the cup against Grove Menzieshil and Clydesdale takes place on February 22.

Janet and the squad wish to thank Dizzy White, who acted as umpire for the club, as well as Mary Weir and Debra Martin.