MORE than 400 players took to the Tweedbank pitch in glorious sunshine at the weekend for the annual Festival of Hockey.
The biggest event of the year for hockey in the area saw over 50 games played, a busy weekend for the large number of volunteers and spectators who supported players on and off the pitch.
Festival organiser and hockey development officer Janet Jack told TheSouthern: “The Festival encourages the core values that Borders Hockey Development promotes to all of our players. These values continue to strengthen our base of players developing into international players.”
The range of ages and abilities of those taking part was extremely diverse, from those starting out aged seven, right through to one of the Masters goalkeepers, aged 69.
“This really highlights how the game of hockey can encompass both sexes and all ages,” added Jack.
Saturday kicked off with the Participation Centre Festival for the 8-12 age group, with 13 teams from across the Borders taking to the pitch.
This was followed by 62 players representing Borders Under-12, Under-13 and Under-14 Development squads participating in a workshop.
The players were also inspired by two of the Scottish junior international coaches and the junior Borders international players, who mentored them throughout the event.
An experienced Scottish Masters Women’s team travelled to Tweedbank from various corners of the country to play against a Borders Masters team and a more youthful Borders select side.
Eight junior Under-14 teams were welcomed to Tweedbank on Sunday morning and in the afternoon Graham Stuart, one of Scotland’s most celebrated goalkeepers, delivered a coaching workshop.
A small sided game was played on a half-pitch with a blend of the more ‘mature’ end of the men’s game mixed with the younger side.
The Under-16 round robin tournament really demonstrated how far hockey has come over the last few years and some very exciting and entertaining mixed hockey was on show.
The weekend was heralded as a huge success with everybody coming away tired, tanned and smiling.