Despite a 9am start on a Sunday morning, 30 juniors managed to drag their parents out so they could take part in our end of season tournament last weekend! With the second half of the season disrupted by COVID lockdown restrictions, it was great to see so many keen to play and show off their skills on the slightly bumpy “MUGA” pitch at the club. Many also having grown about 6 inches since we last saw them!

After a nice warm up and a bit of stick and ball time to get them ready to play, the juniors were put into 5 teams – Red, Green, Orange, Yellow and Purple (of course!) – with each team playing each other once in a round robin format of 10 minute matches. Considering many of them had not picked up a stick for 4 months, there was some great play all round with 26 goals scored and some hard fought matches. And it all came down to the last game, Red versus Orange, to decide the winners. A win for Orange would see them champions, but a draw or loss would mean Green would take the crown. Red battled hard, but Orange just managed to sneak home with the winning goal coming two minutes from time.

The final standings

A great morning of hockey and a nice way to wrap up the winter season. Watch this space for news of more junior events during the summer.

It has finally happened – England Hockey has announced that stage 4 of its Return to Play Roadmap can begin. This is the next step along the road to returning to normal playing conditions and very welcome news as we approach the new season. As a club and section, we are working hard to ensure that everyone joining us for hockey sessions is safeguarded.

In order to protect our members, we must all adhere to some simple rules:

  • Every player must sign the COVID consent form before their first training session back. This can be found on the England Hockey website (where there is plenty of further information) or directly by following this link.
  • Every player must also now “check-in” whenever using any of our club pitches – the MUGA, Aylward and Southbury. This is done via a QR code which can be scanned at the entrance to each facility, and then it automatically opens a simple form in Teamo which allows you to confirm that you are symptom free and aware of the risks of participation. Information will be stored for 21 days, as per UK guidelines, where after, it will be permanently deleted.
  • We are happy to announce that our MUGA training slots are no longer limited by numbers. We are still asking that groups keep to a maximum of 12 players on the playing area at any one time to allow for safe play and social distancing during and between training drills when possible. However, other players are welcome to take advantage of the space around the playing area to work on their fitness.
  • As we go through these difficult times, we are asking players to take extra precautions when playing. This includes social distancing before and after sessions, not touching the balls with your hands or anyone else’s equipment. We also strongly suggest that you do not share lifts with any other player outside your household.
  • After each session, we will be sanitizing the balls and cones using sanitizing spray. We also ask that every player cleans their kit and equipment and leaves them for a minimum of 72 hours. Although the club is working to ensure that hand sanitizing stations are in place, we also suggest that players carry their own hand sanitizer to use before and after sessions.

The attached infographic provides a nice summary of the current guidance. Keep watching for further information when we return to full pitch training and then matches. If you want any more information or have any questions, please contact our COVID Officer – Gemma Luckman at welfare.whehockey@gmail.com or go to the England hockey advice page.

We are delighted to be finally getting back on the hockey pitch, albeit in a socially distanced form. In line with England Hockey’s “Stage 2” of the Getting Back on the Pitch programme, we are now able to use the Multi-Use Games Area (a.k.a. the MUGA) at the club in groups of up to 6 people, and there are already regular groups using the opportunity to practice their skills and improve their fitness ahead of the new season.

Pass and move

Keeping in mind the key requirement to retain 2m social distancing (unless from the same household), the following activities all work well:

  • Basic skills training (hitting, trapping, passing, etc)
  • Close control and dribbling
  • Shooting practice and deflections
  • Goalkeeping training
  • 2/3-a-side non-contact (no tackling) games and drills

Contact your team captain or a committee member to find out how to book the MUGA for your own socially-distanced practice session.

U12 Boys @ Welwyn Garden City (de Havilland uni)

The boys U12s headed to a windswept de Havilland campus in Hatfield for the final round of Herts Junior League matches today, where they faced the usual suspects from Royston, Blueharts and Letchworth.

The opening game against Royston was a very tight affair, with neither side able to dominate and break free from the battle in midfield to create any substantial chances. The final score of 0-0 was a fair result in an uneventful game.

Straight on again for the next game against Blueharts and our boys started to find more space going forward, but also leaving more spaces for Blueharts to exploit against us. And it was Blueharts who took the lead through a stroke of good fortune when a shot that was going wide deflected off a Winchmore stick to find the back of our goal. One nil down, but our boys bounced back with good attacking play up the right from Siva and Arran resulting in a free hit and a ball into the D which Albert calmly converted 30 seconds before full time. A hard-earned draw, and the boys showed great resilience to come back after the early setback.

After a one game break, we were back on for the final game against Letchworth, but this turned out to be one game too far for our boys who were overrun by a good Letchworth team. A 4-0 defeat, but the boys kept their heads up and still threatened a goal at the other end with one effort just sliding by the far post.

Played 3, drawn 2, lost 1. A pretty good day at the end of a good season for our U12s, where the team has really grown and developed over the past 5 months. Well done all and many thanks to all the parents have come down and supported on some fairly bleak days of winter!

U12 Boys @ Southbury Leisure Centre

U12BoysHerts(Dec-19)It was a 9am start for our boys U12s, as we hosted the Herts Junior League for the first time this season on a bitterly cold, but thankfully not frosty, morning.

After their heroics at Blueharts in the November tournament, our boys were raring to go with a slightly altered line up as Immanuel, James and Joseph B were added to the squad.

In the opening game against Harpenden, they picked up where the left off with great passing and interplay between midfield and attack seeing Winchmore take a 2-1 lead halfway through the game, with the goals coming from Zafar and Siva. However, Harpenden were a good side and after picking off some misplaced Winchmore passes they counter-attacked at speed, scoring 3 more goals to run out 4-2 winners in an exciting end-to-end game.

After one match on the sidelines, our boys were soon back in action again, taking on Royston in the next game. However, defeat in the first game had knocked their confidence and despite creating some good chances in attack they were unable to convert. Royston then took full advantage of a couple of missed tackles to score twice and take the win 2-0.

After the loss of Liam to illness, we regrouped and took the fight straight to Hertford in the final match of the day. And our boys were soon back to goalscoring ways as Zafar got his second goal of the day and then Albert swept the ball home to seal a comfortable 2-0 win.

Played 3, won 1, lost 2, but lots of great play in all areas of the pitch once again, and some lessons learned too on the importance of accurate passing and making those tackles count. I’m sure the boys will be itching to get back in action again in the next round after Christmas.

Big thanks to all the parents who braved the cold to support, and of course to Lisa and Charlotte for organising the tournament on behalf of the club.


U12 Girls @ Hertford

U12GirlsHerts(Dec-19)The under 12’s girls’ team were in good spirits for their tournament in Hertford – they had even created their own WHEHC chant!

Our first game was against Hertford A’s, we fought hard against a well drilled team and went down 2-0. Our heads were held high.

Our next game was a battle against Broxbourne. This time we had a secret weapon, new goalie Bhavya, who played a blinder. We were unlucky to lose 1-0.

Next, we had Welwyn Garden City who we were again unlucky to concede a goal to. Final score another 1-0 defeat. Special mention in this game goes to our solid defence. Unfortunately, in this game our goalie sustained an injury and we didn’t know if she would be able to continue….

… She did against Hertford B’s and with a fantastic team spirit we smashed the next game 1-0. The goal was started with a great run down the wing by Harriet and a strong strike by Kirsty. BOOM, our first win.

Buoyed by our first win the team went into the next match with an increased confidence. Unfortunately, we did not have a goalie, but it didn’t stop us. BOOM 2 goals, courtesy of Kirsty! (#Proud Mum on the sidelines!!). Harpenden 0, WHE 2. What a result!

Our last match was against North London and we held our own. The defence was strong, the midfield used the space well and the attack were tenacious. We were happy with a 0-0 draw.

This team are the future of our club and based on their performance today the future looks very bright indeed. Molly, Emily, Alice, Alize, Kirsty, Layla, Bhavya and Harriet all played their socks off and should be very proud of themselves. Special final mention to the parents who came to support and finally to Callum Hall on his umpiring debut.

Onwards and upwards.