So we’re now coming to the end of the season and this is when it all counts. It’s been a pretty fantastic season for us at Surbiton – undefeated in the outdoor and indoor league and we’re in the Cup Final. However we now have the European Club Cup competition over the Easter weekend and then the Investec League Championship playoffs at the Lee Valley HTC on the 18th/19th April.
We’re all really excited to be heading to Bilthoven in Holland for the European Club Cup as it’s the first time Surbiton women will have competed in this competition. It’s certainly going to be a tough ask with all the best club sides in Europe competing for the title but I’m really looking forward to the challenge. Our quarter final is against the Spanish champions, Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
Internationally, we’ve been training hard at Bisham Abbey in preparation for the Olympic Qualifiers in June in Valencia. About a month ago we headed to Valencia for some matches against Spain but also to check out everything ahead of the tournament. It was good to play on the pitch as it’s quite a different surface to what we train on at Bisham and also to see the hotel to find out what we might need to bring next time (a kettle is top of my list!).
Recently, we had some practice games against Ireland and Chile which were all successful with lots learnt. We also now know that Ireland will be at our Olympic Qualifiers so it’s good that we’ve had a bit of experience against them. I always like having matches to break up the training periods and we even had one against Marlow Men’s 1st team last week.
In between all of the training and practice matches I’ve really enjoyed going along to a number of schools and clubs in the last couple of months. It’s important that we interact with the wider hockey community as much as possible. We want more children to keep playing hockey and if we can inspire them in any way then that’s great. In that regard, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Kings School Gloucester, St Augustines Priory, Bilton Grange, Duke of York’s RMS, Lincoln HC & Cheltenham Junior HC) to help with pitch openings, coaching, speaking etc. It’s been brilliant to meet so many enthusiastic children and it’s great to see hockey thriving around the country.
At the end of February I went along to the Girls School National Finals down at the Lee Valley HTC and saw some exceptional young talent on show. I may have been a slightly biased spectator as my old school, Repton, were competing in all 3 age groups and I was lucky enough to present the trophy to their U16 girls. It’s seems like a long time since I was in their shoes!
So there we are, the next time I give an update will be after those upcoming big weekends which will really determine how successful our season has truly been. It’s a bit of a cliché that we all live for these big games but I am genuinely really excited by what is facing Surbiton over the next few weeks and hope that I can report much success next time.