Hard work bears fruit for hockey

SIXTY-TWO players braved bitterly cold conditions at Berwickshire High School for the Berwickshire Junior Hockey Festival which incorporated selection for the national primary schools event.

All teams played eight games.

Regional hockey development officer Janet Jack told TheSouthern: “It was really satisfying to see all the hard work from the hockey development team over the past two years within the nine centres coming to fruition. What is even more encouraging is the development of game play, and this was evident from some excellent passages of display and passing sequences which resulted in goals.”

It was the first outing for the newly-formed Borders Fjordhus Eyemouth squads. This would not have been achieved without the perseverance of young coaches Cara Powner, Kelly Aitchieson and Michelle Stewart who have brought on junior hockey at the eight-12 age group and U15s levels in the Duns and Eyemouth areas.

There have been four junior festivals held during the past few months across the Borders, with hundreds of children being given the opportunity to play hockey in a competitive environment.

Festivals are played under Scottish Hockey guidelines, where six players take to the field on quarter of the pitch and each team has two goals at each end to score in. Although goals are scored, results are not recorded – and it is the participation and game play that are important.

Jack explained: “Fun and enjoyment, good sportsmanship and good team ethics are encouraged in every festival, and these values are promoted at all the sessions in every junior club centre across the region.”

The highlight of the junior season is the National Primary School Festival which is held in June at Peffermill in Edinburgh. Two teams from every region are selected to participate in the event.

The junior clubs chosen to represent the Borders are chosen by the hockey development team.

The two club centres selected this year are Borders Fjordhus Earlston and Borders Fjordhus Gala.

Earlston started two years ago with just two members, but now boasts a membership of over 50 participants. This group is coached by Claire Townsend, Elena Lunn and Gemma Ross. Gala also have a large membership of more than 40 players and are coached by Pippa Bell.