The Borders Hockey Development fifth annual Festival of Hockey, held at Tweedbank, was hailed as a resounding success.
Not even the variable weather could dampen the spirits of the 400-plus players who took part – the BSLT Tweedbank Community Sports Hub building an invaluable shelter from the occasional torrential downpour as well as being a refreshment area.
First, Under-12s played out a competitive six-a-aside tournament – a fantastic showcase of fun hockey, with many experiencing team hockey against other clubs in the region for the first time.
The following players were selected to be presented with certificates of merit by their coaches: Kelso – Chloe Aitchieson, Rebecca Wood; Jedburgh – Hamish Stenhouse; Earlston – Maddie Thomson, Samantha Dagg; Tweedbank – Innes Campbell, Aimee McLeish; Selkirk – Tabitha Marston, Tia Douglas; Berwickshire – Sarah Turnbull, Ben Simmonds.
There was a short break while the Borders Hockey Development Awards were presented as follows: Under-12 Player Development, Jamie Clark; Under-14 Player Development, Catherine Nichol; Under-16 Player Development, Tara Aitchieson; Under-18 Player Development, Lucy Inglis; Senior Player Development, Claire Hill; Junior Coach, Jade Tyreman; Grassroots Coach, Lyndsey Millar; Senior Coach, Katie Dun; Volunteer, Jane Aitchison; Umpire, Caroline Barron.
Then the development squads at U12, U13 and U14 arrived to participate in a skills session, led by Janet Jack and supported by Pippa Bell and six of the junior internationalists from the region. All players were told they were selected because they had potential, but to realise that potential they would have to give their personal best at every training session.
The region’s goalkeepers were put through their paces by Graham Stuart, Scottish Hockey’s national goalkeeping coach, before the annual match between the Scottish masters ladies team and the Borders Select. The former side included Jackie Wilson, Carolyn Allison and Janet Jack, all Fjordhus Reivers, and are heading to the World Cup in Rotterdam at the beginning of June.
Experience paid off, with the masters running out 5-1 winners.
The Sunday saw the Under-14 Borders hockey club tournament being played. Fjordhus Reivers Reds beat experienced Edinburgh outfit Cala Coyotes to win the cup on home ground.
The Under-16 club tournament closed the festival, with Cala Blue taking the title,ovecoming fellow Edinburgh side Inverleith White on goal difference.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Emily Newlands (Selkirk High School and Fjordhus Reivers) joins Claire Hill (Kelso High School) and Kirsty Hill (former Kelso High School and Watsonians) in being selected for the Under-21 Scottish squad to play France in three test matches in Lille (June 6-8) and then attend a training Camp in Poland in June – all in preparation for the junior European cup.