Sevenoaks Hockey Club sent six teams of U12 and U14 Boys and Girls to the Torneo Internacional de la Inmaculada at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona in December. This was the 32nd time the tournament has been held and the fourth consecutive year Sevenoaks have sent teams to the event.
The 60 Sevenoaks players competed against sides from Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the UK in both Championship and Cup events and, as always, the standard of hockey was extremely high. Under blue skies and in warm sunshine, cheered on by some 50 Sevenoaks supporters, all six teams produced a show of fantastic hockey with wins achieved across all age groups and in all competitions.
Both on and off the pitch the team spirit was inspiring, and the main purpose of the tour was richly justified as boys and girls from both age groups supported each other at matches, sang along together on the team coaches, and chatted and mingled between games. As one parent said after the trip; “I was blown away by the team camaraderie shown over the weekend! The junior section of SHC should be proud of their team ethics, friendships, support, and, of course, their hockey.”
On the final day of the competition all six teams played hard-fought games to determine their final rankings with the U12B Girls just being edged out of the medals losing their 3rd/4th play-off match 2-0 to Lazio Hockey. In the U14 age group both the boys and girls teams made their respective finals. The boys just failed to retain the Championship trophy they won last year, narrowly losing an end-to-end final to the tournament host Real Club de Polo. The U14 girls, who made the final of the Cup competition following a semi-final draw that went to penalty shuffles, were rewarded for all their skill and determination with a 2-1 victory over Real Club Jolaseta. Emily Barrett lifted the gold trophy for the girls, and Charlie Brooks collected the silver trophy for the boys.
As always this was a hugely successful and enjoyable tour, loved by the players, and made possible by the hard work of the organising committee, the support of the team managers, and the dedication and support of the entire coaching team at the club, led in Barcelona by Ian Haley, Jason Bigara, and Jacqui Hudson.