Brighton and Hove Hockey Club's first mixed girls and boys hockey festival over the Spring Bank Holiday proved a great success both on and off the pitch - so much so that it may become an annual event.
Over the weekend of May 26 and 27, BHHC hosted Nuneaton Hockey Club Juniors (boys and girls aged between 12 and 15). On Saturday there was a 'training game' - mainly BHHC under-12 boys with the Nuneaton team - in order to get them ready for the Sunday mixed boys and girls hockey fun festival at Blatchington Mill.
Five teams took part: two from Brighton and one from Nuneaton, Lewes and a combined Burgess Hill/St Francis side.
Atul Patel, BHHC's Junior Director of Hockey, reports: "The players were of mixed ability and this was the first time we had held a mixed gender team festival. Each team came with around 15 players - around 75 players - plus parents and supporters.
The games were 11-a-side. We had 10 rounds of 15-minute games with each team playing another twice. This was welcome given the heat of the day and allowing for plenty of water stops.
The weather was fantastic, maybe a little hot at times, but we started early around 10.30am and went on until 2pm. During this time Graham and Jenny kept everyone filled with bacon butties and burgers (it was ideal BBQ weather) as well as water ... although towards the end we started to run out of water!
Everyone was up for having a really good fun time and all the games were played in excellent spirit and a very relaxed bank holiday atmosphere. Given the mixture of ages from 12 to 15 it was really good to see the older players helping and guiding the younger ones - I constantly observed the older ones always passing to the younger ones and getting them involved in the games.
Burgess Hill girls combined with St Francis boys to form a really good team - they came top of the round-robin games. The priority was taking part and having fun ... so no one was really focused on the scores!"
Nuneaton proved a popular touring team and presented BHHC with a shield. They were full of praise for BHHC for the organisation and hospitality they received. Olivia White, the Nuneaton team manager, said: "Thank you so much to Atul, all others from Brighton and the other teams that entered. We went on a junior tour to Bournemouth last year and the hockey was nowhere near as well organised as this was. Our juniors and coaches also had a great time. Also a thank you to the chairman who put on a great BBQ."
Atul says a big shout out for the success of the event should go to:
- All the players, including one boy from Nuneaton who made the trip despite breaking his foot last week (you can see him on the left of the front row of the photograph).
- All the team managers: Brighton (Myles Ford and Corinna Rees); Nuneaton (Olivia White); Lewes (Philip Brown); Burgess Hill/St Francis (Tim Furber and Colin Upchurch); also to Nick Bennett (BHHC under-14 boys) and Clare Cook (BHHC under-14 girls) helped to get a number of their players along as well so BHHC could have two teams.
- Jenny and Graham Edwards for the BBQ, and much needed water!
- Wendy Russell for setting up the round-robin format on the day.
Updated 21:17 - 12 Jun 2018 by Matt Sale
- Parents/helpers making sure that everyone was having fun.