Rihoy & Son is delighted to be involved with the three year sponsorship of the hockey outreach programme, known as the Hotshots and organised by the Guernsey Hockey Club.
Run by Guernsey Hockey in conjunction with the Guernsey Sports Commission, the outreach programme allows children in Years 5 and 6 the opportunity to experience and play hockey and culminates in an end-of-season tournament which gives local primary schools the chance to compete competitively. As part of the scheme, Sam Watson, Katy Taylor and Mike Kinder visit local primary schools each term, in order to deliver a six week programme of hockey which gives the children the opportunity to understand and develop core skills and experience gameplay.
In recent years the programme has been especially important for the growth of the sport on the island as the game has seen a shift away from the previous influx of players from private schools and has instead benefitted from the exposure gained from the outreach tournaments. The outreach programme has led to a steady increase in players entering the club’s Year 5 and 6 age group and has meant that those joining the club have already attained core skills which have in turn, have allowed them to transition seamlessly into the club environment.
The outreach programme has a long-lasting impact in the sport, with an improved standard of players entering secondary schools, resulting in a strong foundation for secondary school PE staff to expand upon. This has been recognised and evidenced in all schools’ hockey events for Years 7 to 9, where schools compete over a six week period.
We were delighted to see eight schools enter the annual end-of-season Year 6 Hockey tournament, and a further five schools take part in the Year 5 event.
The purpose of the Year 5 event is to give the children a chance to visit Guernsey Hockey Club, potentially for the first time, to see what it has to offer and most importantly to have the opportunity to play on Astro turf. During the schools outreach sessions, lessons are largely limited to outdoor playing surfaces such as netball pitches, however the tournament gives Year 5s the opportunity to play at the faster pace that flat astro turf offers.
Pupils from Beechwood, La Houguette, St Mary and St Michael and Vauvert Primary school all took part in the Year 5 school event, whilst few residential trips and clashes with other commitments stopped more schools from competing. However it was still an exhilarating competition.
In the Year 5 tournament, the schools played against each other in six-a-side friendly games with a focus on development rather than playing to win. This approach ensures all participants have equal pitch time and a chance to develop their skills against different teams. Playing time for players was prioritised, so everyone got the chance to put the skills they have acquired during their schools’ sessions into practice. All players came away from the event having shown some great skills in the matches and massive smiles.
The standard of this year’s tournament was excellent, with every school putting points on the board during the group stage of the tournament and it was impressive to see all the skills learnt in outreach sessions being applied to the gameplay.
After the initial group stage, the semi-finals saw La Mare De Carteret face Vauvert and Beechwood compete with St Martins Primary School. After two tight games, La Mare De Carteret and St Martins progressed to the final where La Mare De Carteret came out victorious after a 2–0 victory after a very competitive game where St Martins were very unfortunate not to score. The game of the tournament however was in the group stage where eventual champions La Mare De Carteret came back from 3 goals down against Beechwood to draw 3–3 and progress to the next round!
Teams taking part in the Year 6 tournaments were Melrose, Vale, La Houguette, Vauvert, Castel, La Mare De Carteret, Beechwood and St Martins.
Director of Guernsey Junior Hockey, Suzie Tee commented, “ Both the Year 5 and 6 Hotshots tournaments were brilliant, full of energy, competitive enthusiasm and skilled hockey from many beginners. Lots of the students said they wanted to take up hockey so it was a real success!”
Photo Credit: Guernsey Press
Posted: 14 June 2023