Successful season as Reivers stick to what they know best
The recent declaration from Scottish Hockey, that district leagues would be pronounced null and void for 2019-20, gave one of the area’s top clubs a chance to pause and reflect.
Head coach and well-known Borders hockey stalwart, Janet Jack, said it had been another outstanding season for the club, all the way from the youth up to the senior men’s and ladies’ teams.
As well as the Reivers, there is also strong Borders representation in the district ranks from Kelso, Peebles and Berwick.
Janet said: “At youth level, our mixed U14 teams play in the East League. Our boys and girls in the Reivers Raiders, Reivers Rangers and Reivers Rockets have the opportunity to play at Meggetland in Edinburgh every second Sunday in the East League, which boasts eight leagues.”
She was grateful to Chloe Richardson and Helen Montgomery for travelling with the teams at weekends.
“Our U16 girls teams also had a successful season playing in East District League,” said Janet.
“The U16A squad plays in EastU16 Premier and our U16 Development team plays in East League 3 Development League.”
Janet continued: “Our senior teams have been exceptional, both on the training field and in competition.
“The attitude, effort, competitiveness and work rate during the week, in preparation for weekend league games, is possibly the best in relation to many sports.
“Attendance is always near on 100 per cent, which allows each squad to work on areas recognised for development from the previous weekend.”
Janet reflected: “I have an easy task. All players turn up on time, prepared, and are ready to go from the minute the session starts.
“Thursday nights, in particular, are busy, with three full squads, Ladies 1s, 2s and 3s, on the pitch at the same time.
“There is a lot of ‘creativity’ in planning of the sessions to ensure up to 40+ players are engaged and adding value to their game.
“As a result, the players deserve all the successes they have achieved this season and it is fantastic to see the younger players inspired by those who are older and more experienced.
“The club culture is incredible, from youngest to oldest.
“The boys’/men’s section is also developing and progressing rapidly, with a great deal of energy invested from coaches including Ben Hortin and Andrew MacLean.
“My pre-season goal, as head coach, is for us to finish in the top six in our respective leagues for all our teams – and we have absolutely smashed it this year.”
The club itself was formed in 2011, after a meeting in the Ship Inn, Melrose.
A small group of women from the Melrose Ladies Hockey Club, disappointed at a decline of hockey in the area, discussed the potential to develop an all-inclusive Borders Hockey Club, if the sport was to grow and become sustainable in the Scottish Borders.
To ensure both genders were catered for, the ladies invited the local men’s club, Reivers, to jointheir mission to develop a ‘Family Club for All’.
This was an essential step and, with both genders accommodated and a vision of the way ahead, the protagnoists reckoned it was time to grow.
Over the years, the club has grown and gone from strength to strength.
It is now the largest club in the Scottish Borders, boasting five women’s teams, ranging from Scottish Hockey’s National League 2 down to Scottish East District Ladies Development League 4.
The latter was set up to provide young players with the opportunity to test the waters in 11-a-side hockey in a competitive environment.
“Although the 2019-20 season came to an abrupt end, it was exciting to see every senior team in the club finishing in the top six of their respective leagues, with three of the six teams in pole position,” added Janet.
“The club predominantly comprises young players and the turnover is high, as most players will leave the area when they go on to further education or employment.
As a result, the club puts its strength and effort into a comprehensive youth programme providing opportunities for players to both participate and compete at u12, u14, u16 and u18. The club’s numbers this year are over 300, with around 80 per cent of players under 18. This season, the club ventured into Scottish indoor hockey, competing in National League Division 3. The squad finished the indoor season in a very creditable second place.
The club would not be as successful without the support it receives from the players, parents, coaches and wider community, including local businesses, raffle prize donors and long-standing main sponsor, Fjordhus.
Final placings for Fjordhus squads.
Mixed U14 teams:
U14 Raiders – top of league
U14 Rangers – fourth
U14 Rockets – fifth
U16A – fourth
U16 Dev – top of league
Senior ladies and men:
Ladies 2s – third in Premier
Ladies 3s – top of Premier
Ladies 4s – third in League 2
Ladies 5s – top of League 4 (100 per cent winning record)
Men –top of League 3
The Ladies 1s play in National League 2 – a decision was still awaited on its conclusion.