A certain number of us get very excited at this time of year, at the prospect of some highly competitive indoor hockey. The indoor season is short-lived, consisting of a few weeks of intense training and a couple of weekend tournaments around Christmas.
If you are interested in being considered for the men's or women's indoor squads, please contact:
2009 Ladies Indoor Trophy - Runners Up
In December, Cheltenham Ladies Hockey Club played in the finals of the West Indoor Championship, seeking qualification into National League. Cheltenham came second in this tournament, and though they missed out on a place in the top flight, secured a place in the National Trophy tournament, in which the "best of the rest" from the North, South, East, West and Midlands battle it out. The National Trophy took place this weekend, in Wolverhampton.
In the first game, Cheltenham played a well organised Cambridge City, and though they took the lead in the first minute of the game, with Chicken flicking the ball from the right side of the D and hitting the inside of the left netting, the Gloucestershire side struggled to find their form and ended up losing the game 2-3. Emma Jones being the scorer of Cheltenham's second, also in open play, who slipped the ball past the keeper's left foot, into the corner.
The next match was against Stourport, and again, Cheltenham scored in the first minute when, during a penalty corner, Gemma Stevens flicked the ball from a slip left. Stourport scored the next two goals making it 2-1, but Natalia Lewis levelled the scores with five minutes remaining. The final goal was scored by Frankie Mayes from a short corner, leading to a Cheltenham victory.
Cheltenham's third and final game of the first day of the tournament was against Crostyx, and at half time, Cheltenham found themselves two nil down, after conceding two goals within the first 7 minutes. Shortly after half time Chicken scored from a penalty corner and with 2 minutes to go, Gayle Ashby scored a second, leading to a well-deserved draw.
Sunday, and Cheltenham's opponents where Ashmoor who had come through from the regional tournament as West runners up, with Cheltenham beating them in the December tournament on penalty flicks. Cheltenham finally found their form and won decisively, 6-1. The first Cheltenham goal was scored in open play by Ashby, who intercepted the ball and put it away to the left of the keeper's pads. The second came shortly after by Chicken who scored with a straight strike from a short corner. Ashmoor tried to stay in the game and scored after some hard fought play, making it 2-1. Just before half time Naylor scored her first, so the half time score was 3-1. in the second half, Cheltenham soon scored their fourth goal with some excellent 1-2 play down the right hand board, finding Emma Jones on the penalty spot who put the ball away. The fifth was scored by Williams, and Chicken finished the rout with the 6th.
The final pool game was a must-win for Cheltenham to qualify for the tournament final. Pitted against Sheffield, the opposition scored quickly, but Cheltenham proved to be the stronger side, first equalising with a penalty flick taken by Chicken, which gave Cheltenham the confidence they needed. Naylor scored the winning goal during some hard worked open play. The final score, 2-1 to Cheltenham, meant that the ladies were due to face Cambridge City in a nail-biting final.
There was a great atmosphere for the final, with the Cheltenham Men's squad cheering the Ladies on from the sideline. Cambridge took the lead early on but there was no question that the teams where very equally matched. Cambridge scored again making it 2-0, but Cheltenham stayed focused. Lewis scored Cheltenham's first goal, the second followed shortly after, when a shot hit the post and bounced back to Frankie Mayes who made the scores level. Although Cheltenham battled hard, Cambridge made sure they scored on every possible chance they had, making it very hard for the defence and although Cheltenham keeper Collins, who has an excellent tournament overall, was incredible in the net once again, 4 goals slipped past Cheltenham over the course of the rest of the match. The final score was 6-2, leaving Cheltenham runners up in the National Trophy.
Goal Scorers: Rachel Chicken (5), Gayle Ashby (3), Natalia Lewis (2), Emma Jones (2), Frankie Mayes (2), Justine Naylor (2), Gemma Stevens (2), Simone Williams (1)
Team: Charlotte Collins (GK), Fiona Maffey, Daisy Noble, Gemma Stephens, Simone Williams, Gayle Ashby, Rachel Chicken (C), Natalia Lewis, Justine Naylor, Emma Jones, Frankie Mayes
Saturday 17 January
1230: Cambridge City 3-2 Cheltenham
1530: Cheltenham 3-2 Stourport
1815: Cheltenham 2-2 Crostyx
Sunday 18 January
1050: Cheltenham 6-1 Ashmoor
1210: Sheffield Hallam 1-2 Cheltenham
1345: Cambridge City 6-2 Cheltenham FINAL
2007 Men's U18 Tournament
The Men's U18s played in the 2007 regional indoor tournament. Due to limited time to practise and low availability, the team played with no subs. Of the 3 matches played, they lost the first 2-1, the second 3-2, and the last 3-1. However the whole team is eligible to play next season so this was a good building year and great experience, and the team was not disheartened by their gutsy performance.