A long-awaited return for the Gloucester Hockey Club

Runners-up: The Gloucester under 11s side produced an impressive performance in the York Cup, played in Tamworth. The side only lost one game in the tournament. Photo: Robyn Beggs.
Runners-up: The Gloucester under 11s side produced an impressive performance in the York Cup, played in Tamworth. The side only lost one game in the tournament. Photo: Robyn Beggs.

After 16 years, Gloucester Hockey Club juniors returned to representative hockey.

The 2017 York Cup and Kim Small Shield was held in Tamworth on July 8, 9 and 10 and saw a full draw of 46 junior teams of boys and girls in A and B divisions.

Coach Ollie Rinkin led the Gloucester under 11s team of boys and girls as they took part of the York Cup in B Division. This group consisted of teams from Dubbo, Port Macquarie, New England, Manning Valley, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Central Coast, Newcastle, Gloucester, Canberra, Hunter and Grafton.

With junior hockey numbers growing this year to six teams, there were more than enough players to form a team to take away. Over the past six weeks, players attended extra training sessions as they prepared to play on water based turf in Tamworth.

The weekend kicked off with player-coaching clinics (with additional Gloucester children also participating) which presented a fantastic opportunity to develop new skills. The carnival focused on skill development and providing a positive atmosphere, not only for junior players but also for umpires and coaches.

Warming up for their first game against Hunter, there were quite a lot of nerves and reservations in the side. These soon diminished as they played outstanding hockey with great team work and positional play that led to a 2-0 win.

Ollie's pep talk included "Well done guys...the next game is going to be a little tougher".  

Game two against Newcastle #2 saw good team work again and setup many shots at goal but could not hit the net. Darcey Fry played well as did Toreen Denyer, with Charli Macdonald setting up some good chances down the left side. The whole defence played solid with the ball still not reaching Sam. Kelly scored two goals for Gloucester for a win 2-0. 

Game three against Canberra was a great thrill for our young players to play a night game under lights on a water based turf. Canberra took the field expecting a big win over our team but Gloucester had different ideas. Gloucester attacked all game and Canberra team had their 11 players in defence and they never got into Gloucester's half all game! The game was a nil all draw. All Gloucester players had a great game. 

Game four against Tamworth Green saw the team change around to give other players a turn in different positions. Dean, Nick and Kelly had a good game in attack, and Darcey, Toreen and Jackson Blanch played well in defence. Sam Ellis had his first touch of the ball and made two great saves. Goal by Ryan Beggs gave a 1-0 win to Gloucester. 

Sunday was a busy day which also included two indoor games, Managers Andrew Germon and Paula Blanch had their work cut out watching the clock to give all players equal game time (as indoor games are played with five players plus goalie as opposed to normal game with 10 players and goalie on the field). First indoor game against Dubbo, all played well with Ryan Beggs scoring a goal. Second indoor game against New England Sky, more great hockey with Ryan scoring once again for a 1-0 win to Gloucester. These games were in addition to the round robin, to give teams an opportunity to play on different surface, therefore scores not counting in the round robin.

Gloucester had a great game against Coffs Coast #1, never giving them a chance to win this game. In attack Charli Macdonald had a good game. Dean Germon, Justin Battams and Nick Maslen were strong in defence. Darcey Fry and Toreen Denyer played well, Jackson Blanch and Jackson Moore were very solid. Gloucester had the first goal scored against them but took out the game 3-1. Goals Kelly 2, Dean 1. 

Game six against Grafton Maroon was a very good game with both teams having chances but good keeping from both goal-keepers kept the score down. The Gloucester forwards worked hard and were well backed up by the halves. The two fullbacks played well and were good support for our keeper Sam. Goals Dean Germon and Ryan Beggs, score 2-0. 

In their first game on Monday, Gloucester came up against Coffs Coast #2 in a very good game of hockey.

Gloucester attacking most of the game but failed to score. Coffs Coast only got to Gloucester’s 25 once and went in to score the winning goal. All our players played well and this was our only loss for the carnival. A great effort for a team on its first outing.

The side came up against Port Macquarie Hastings in the last game of the carnival. Gloucester took the field with four halves and four forwards.

A good display of attack demonstrated by a goal to Kelly Groves led Gloucester to a 1-0 victory. 

The whole team should take credit for this win, finishing the carnival as runners-up in B Division of the York Cup.

Well done team Gloucester for your exemplary sportsmanship and behaviour both on and off the field. Charli Macdonald was awarded the club award receiving a signed ball as an acknowledgment of her achievement and positive attitude throughout the carnival.

Huge thank you to Ollie Rinkin for his ongoing support and encouragement for our Junior players, and thank you for giving Andrew Germon and I the opportunity to be involved as managers. A special mention must also go to the families of these amazing kids for their contributions in making the weekend a success.

The side would like to thanks the Gloucester Sports Council for the use of representative sporting tracksuits.