The 2019/20 ladies’ season, well what can I say, it has been an eventful one. For my first season as Ladies Club Captain (a “small admin job” as Mel told me), I wasn’t sure what to expect, but having my team of captains beside me I knew I was in good hands.
Starting the season, the ladies 1s were secure in South 3B and had everything to play for. With changes to the Hampshire League structure and new teams to play against, some of our other Ladies team started of the seasons slightly differently to what we expected, but they were more determined than ever to show what Haslemere Hockey Club is made of. The Ladies 2s were eager to gain promotion out of Hampshire Div 2, the Ladies 3s were there to support but unexpectedly found themselves in a 3 way fight for the top spots of Hampshire Div 4, and the Ladies 4s were happy maintaining their spots in Hampshire Div 5 and 7.
Izzy O’Neil continued her captaincy of the Ladies 5s for another season, with Izzy’s experience and lovely nature her aim was to support and develop the team, bringing on some of our new and/or younger players and getting them to really enjoy hockey and love the game. We have had some great dedication from the likes of Issy Harry, Phoebe Ashford, Silvie Hackett, Shiobhan Watt, Libby Evans and Hayley Clarkson who have all played over 75% of the Ladies 5s games. Not to mention the support from Heide Evans and those who kindly stepped up to play in goal when we unfortunately lost GKs throughout the club.
Anna Carvosso-White took on the Ladies 4s Captaincy this season and in her very organised and military fashion has done a fabulous job of managing the team. The Ladies 4s core squad has welcomed in players from the ladies 5s (when it sadly had to fold) and has seen some of our Back to Hockey Players putting on the blue shirt for Haslemere.
Heather Jakeway has done another amazing job of captaining the Ladies 3s for another season, her dedication, hard work and countless phone calls throughout the season was awesome. We have really seen the Ladies 3s go from strength to strength this season, with scores in double figures or close to double figures being a regular occurrence, they really do deserve to be fighting it out for that top spot and promotion.
Maddy Burnett also stepped up to the plate this season and took on the Ladies 2s captaincy, unsure at first she needn’t be as her leadership and enthusiasm guided the Ladies 2s through a truly incredible season, going unbeaten and securing that top spot way before the season had even finished.
Alice Toynton took over captaincy for the ladies 1s this season, it was a tough season not only personally for Alice (having an ACL injury) but also for the team, a team that were used to winning, saw themselves in a tricky position with not many points on the board, but Alice’s leadership, encouragement and supportive nature brought the team forward and helped them gain momentum, finally securing points on the board and getting out of the relegation zone.
With an abrupt end to the season as many of you are all aware, the final positionings are uncertain, but what we do know is that (if my maths are correct), the ladies teams together have won over 47 games and scored over 307 goals. With the Ladies 1s securing they’re position in South 3B, the Ladies 2s sitting top of the table with an incredible 19 points standing between them and second place, the Ladies 3s in 2nd 1 point above 3rd place and the Ladies 4s sitting in 8th, 16 points away from any relegation place. So, with some bumps in the road and some hurdles to cross, we are ending the season in a peculiar way but a positive one.
Which leads me to say a massive thank you to every one of you, captains, coaches, players, mums and dads, thank you for a great season, for turning up week in week out and making our Haslemere Hockey Family amazing.
Here’s some words from our captains:
The Ladies 1s started the season with confidence with several excellent seasons behind them. We knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy season with a number of key players missing through injury, illness and geography. We set our goals high and threw ourselves into pre-season, trying to be ready for the 1st match of the season vs Havant 1s. Although the early results from the first few matches did not go our way, we were confident that we were improving and that things would eventually click. A formation change saw the whole squad working out a new method of play and the matches started to become much closer.
One of the highlights of the first half of the season was a 3-3 draw to league runners up Old Georgians. In fact, it was Haslemere who lead throughout the match but OGs clawed it back every time. This was a valuable point and a much-needed confidence boost for the girls. The first victory of the season came against Tulse Hill away and there was a sense that the season was getting back on track. It was also great to have Heidi and Saz back from ACL recovery at different points in this first half of the season and they definitely added their flair to the side.
Unfortunately, the ladies 1s seem to be operating a 1 in 1 out policy. Just as those players retuned, another ACL injury hit the squad. After Christmas, the team regrouped and decided the aims for the second half of the season. It was clear to us now that the target should be to avoid relegation.
The second half of the season continued in much the same way as the first, until we played Horsham. Before the game, we all had a feeling that this could be a real opportunity to kick start the season and to start climbing the league table, as time was running out. We were lucky in that storm Dennis held off for just long enough for the match to be completed and this has to be a highlight of the season- claiming a draw from a short corner from the final play of the game. This did indeed kick start a run of form for the girls, first beating Hailsham at home 3-0 (with Ellie making an awesome penalty flick save) and then beating Lewes 5-2 away. Another ACL surgery, this time for me (there seems to be a captain’s curse) meant my season ended there but I was looking forward to seeing the girls continue their good form.
Unfortunately, the season also ended abruptly but with Haslemere 5 points ahead of relegation zone but with 3 matches left to play. Although we thought we had done enough we couldn’t be sure until the league confirmed that the league standings were to be left as they are. This was a relief to me, and the team really deserved to earn another season in South 3B. It is testament to all the squad that they saved the best until the last few matches and showed huge amounts of perseverance to continue to improve and compete as the season went on.
We have had some fantastic times both on and off the pitch this season and it has been great to see the team morale stay strong. There were definite highs and lows, but we managed to stay positive as a team and work for each other to achieve our goal. It is also worth mentioning the improvements that individuals have made to their game. We are fortunate to have juniors that are stepping up to the plate, are working hard, and are keen to improve. It has also been awesome to watch some of the more established players also making huge strides in performance and improving the whole time.
We have had a travelling fan club this season complete with puppies, puppy sitters, as well as our own travelling photographer. Thank you so much for being part of the team and keeping our morale high, especially when we go through the ‘game faces’ and bloopers within the pictures from each match!
It wouldn’t be right to finish this report without thanking Pete. He has been through the wringer watching us this season and has had to live it from the unenviable position on the side line. Getting a group of girls that have become used to winning to examine how we play and to make changes is not an easy job! All of us really appreciate his hard work and dedication in a season where he has also had to work hard to find new ways to inspire us, keep us motivated and to improve our performances as a team.
We have been simply OUTSTANDING!!!! 22 wins, 1 draw against Southampton Uni, 102 goals scored and only 2 matches left to play……..we were UNBEATEN! Our season started with a 4-1 win over Gosport and finished in double figures with a 10-1 win against Havant. Scoring is no longer our weakness!
To the 20 players in our squad thank you so much for coming to training and making your availability so good on a Saturday. My job as captain is made easy when we have consistency in our team. I am so grateful to all the volunteer umpires and to our coach Tony. Having a coach who travels to matches has made such a positive impact on our results.
We welcomed 2 newcomers to the club into our team: Mariela and Lynn. Mel you were worth fighting over and I am glad the 2s won! Sibs and Kate, thank you for coming back to hockey when you did. Megs, the knocks you took in defence were worth it, only 22 goals conceded. Catherine, Molly and our 2 volunteer GKs Abby and Dads: thank you so much for saving goals and sometimes watching us attack for the full 70 minutes…
As for the remainder: we could not have done this season without you. I look forward to Division 1 and most importantly the challenge of staying in Division 1.