Kelso High School rounded off an outstanding season of hockey by winning the Berwickshire High Schools’ Sevens tournament for the third time in a row.
They started off their campaign with a 2-0 win over Hawick HS. Playing on grass, both teams found it difficult to move the ball, but a well-struck corner from Lucy Murray in the first half gave Kelso the lead, while Aimee Martin added to this with another goal in the second half.
Next up were Peebles HS, on the astro this time, and Kelso were soon into their stride, scoring three goals before the break. Lucy Murray and Imogen Johnston-Jones, with two, were the players on target.
With some strong defending from Peebles, however, Kelso were not able to add to their score in the second half.
Their final game in the group stages was against Selkirk HS and both teams battled hard on the heavy and unpredictable grass. Neither was able to score, resulting in a goalless draw.
Kelso went through as winners of this group as, although Selkirk also beat Peebles, they had a 1-1 draw with Hawick and so were runners-up.
The other section was won by Galashiels Academy, with Earlston HS as runners-up, so Kelso took on the latter in the semi-final and started strongly, with Lara Patterson scoring a great deflection from a Tara Aitchison cross.
Tara then followed this up with two more goals of her own to help Kelso win the tie 3-0.
Galashiels Academy then took on Selkirk in the other semi but, despite some strong attacking play from the former, Selkirk came through this encounter to make a repeat of last year’s final and the earlier group match.
The final was a great display of sevens hockey, with both teams looking for an opening, and, with Kelso pushing high up the pitch, it was Caitlin Wright from Selkirk who got a breakaway. Despite being chased hard by both Megan Brennan and Izzy Kyle, she scored a great solo goal past Gemma Bootman, the Kelso keeper.
The three Kelso defenders continued to be under pressure from Selkirk after this but held out well to keep the score at 0-1.
In the second half, Kelso fought hard for possession and, with tireless running and creative passing from Linsey Young, built up their attack. Continual pressure in the circle was rewarded with a penalty corner and a great strike from Lucy Murray converted this and levelled the scores, to take the tie into extra time.
With a strong Kelso bench, fitness was proving to be a key factor and Kelso got off to a flying start with a great reverse hit strike from Lucy Murray to score her second goal. A minute later, she got her hat-trick.
Another reverse hit, this time from Tara Aitchison, added to the score before Aimee Martin finished off with another good strike from the back of the D to make the final score 5-1.
Kelso – (back row): Lucy Murray, Linsey Young, Megan Brennan, Imogen Johnstone-Jones, Jessica Howlett. Front – Lara Patterson, Tara Aitchison, Gemma Bootman, Izzy Kyle (captain), Aimee Martin.