From England Hockey – 13 May 2009
This Saturday sees Reading Hockey Club aiming for double silverware success with both their men’s and women’s teams through to hockey’s Cup Finals, which take place at Highfields Hockey Centre in Nottingham as part of the YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival.
In the Men’s Cup Final, Reading, runners-up in the Slazenger EHL Premier Division this season, face the holders Beeston on their own patch while in the Women’s Cup Final newly promoted Conference East champions Reading take on the best team in the land, Premier Division and National Indoor Hockey Championship winners Bowdon Hightown.
The Cup Finals are the showpiece event in an action packed weekend at the YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival, hockey’s biggest occasion for young people. Now in its seventh year, the Festival, which is organised and run by the England Hockey Youth Panel and supported by the National Hockey Foundation, provides the Hockey Family with entertainment, excitement and competitive hockey action throughout the weekend.
On Saturday morning, the action gets underway with the National Schools Championships for Girls U16 Plate Final between Arnold School from Lancashire and Burgess Hill School from Sussex before the deafening chorus of bird calls and big cat roars signals the start of the Under 9s Wild Festival. The mini hockey festival will be looking to build on the enormous success of last year’s Beijing Olympic Festival, with each team representing a different animal this time around. From flamingos to tigers, lizards to rhinos 40 species will each be personified by the enthusiastic participants in the seven-a-side mini hockey event.
With the anticipation building, the Men’s Cup Final is just too close to call. Despite receiving a walkover in the quarter finals, Reading’s path to the final has seen them hit the net 24 times in four matches while conceding just six goals along the way. Beeston though are gaining themselves something of a reputation as cup specialists and boast a healthy goal scoring record of 25 goals in their five matches en route to the final, having conceded just eight at the other end.
In the Women’s Cup Final, Bowdon Hightown are aiming for their third piece of silverware this season after already clinching the Women’s Premier Division and the National Indoor Hockey Championships titles. Having scored 34 goals in the competition so far and losing an average of just one goal a game last season’s Cup runners-up will be desperate to go one better this year and lift the trophy. Standing in their way is Cup Final debutants Reading, who have had an impressive season of their own and who have created history in joining their men at the last stage of the Cup.. The East Conference champions’ run to the final has included victory over Premier Division side Trojans in the quarter finals and a tight 5-4 win over Conference West champions University of Birmingham in their semi final.
The YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival is also home to the Young Umpire and Young Leader Challenges with 50 young people nominated by their regions taking part in a weekend of practical and theoretical learning activities. As part of the Challenge, they will help to run and officiate at the Festival, ably assisting the twelve-strong England Hockey Youth Panel festival management team, whose members are all aged between 16 and 25.
Festival Sunday plays host to the boys and girls under 11 and under 13 YAZOO Mini Hockey Championships. Having won their respective regional championships, the five qualifying teams in each age group will play each other once in a round robin format for the title of National Mini Hockey Champions.
Alongside the hockey at the Festival this year, visitors to Highfields Hockey Centre will be able to take part in all manner of activities in the Fun Zone, from learning circus skills and doing arts and crafts to playing giant games and running the bungee run and bouncy castle. There will also be the opportunity to try out Quicksticks, England Hockey’s dedicated game for 7-11 year olds, which is proving popular in schools and clubs around the country.
Throughout the weekend, England Hockey’s mascots Jasper and Jess will be hosting autograph signing sessions with international hockey players in the big top while there will also be the opportunity for players to buy that new stick they have been dreaming of from The Hockey Centre, England Hockey’s official event retail partner.
Each year, visitors to the Festival help raise funds for the nominated charity of the event, the NSPCC. Last year the generosity of the Hockey Family raised £1200 for the NSPCC.
With free parking, free entry and plenty of free YAZOO as well as a barbeque and a bar for thirsty parents there is something to keep the whole Hockey Family happy at the YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival this weekend.
YAZOO National Youth Hockey Festival Programme of Events
Saturday 16 May 2009
Start Time: Event
0900hrs: National Schools Championships for Girls U16 Plate Final- Arnold School v Burgess Hill School
1030hrs: Fun Zone Opens
1030hrs: Quicksticks Challenge Opens
1030hrs: Under 9 Wild Festival
1330hrs: England Hockey Youth Panel Conference
1515hrs: Men’s Cup Final: Reading v Beeston
1730hrs: Women’s Cup Final: Bowdon Hightown v Reading
Sunday 17 May 2009
Start Time: Event
1030hrs: Fun Zone Opens
1100hrs: YAZOO National Mini Hockey Championships
YAZOO National Mini Hockey Championships Fixtures
U11 Girls Mini Hockey Match Schedule
1100hrs The Croft School v Kirkham Grammar
1130hrs Queens College v Bishop’s Stortford College
1200hrs St George’s College v The Croft School
1230hrs Kirkham Grammar v Queens College
1300hrs Bishop’s Stortford College v St George’s College
1400hrs The Croft School v Queens College
1430hrs St George’s College v Kirkham Grammar
1500hrs Bishop’s Stortford College v The Croft School
1530hrs Queens College v St George’s College
1600hrs Kirkham Grammar v Bishop’s Stortford College
U13 Girls Mini Hockey Match Schedule
1100hrs Harleston Magpies HC v Lichfield HC
1130hrs Wakefield GHS v Kingston Grammar
1200hrs Dean Close Prep v Harleston Magpies HC
1230hrs Lichfield HC v Wakefield GHS
1300hrs Kingston Grammar v Dean Close Prep
1400hrs Wakefield GHS v Harleston Magpies HC
1430hrs Kingston Grammar v Lichfield HC
1500hrs Dean Close Prep v Wakefield GHS
1530hrs Harleston Magpies HC v Kingston Grammar
1600hrs Lichfield HC v Dean Close Prep
U11 Boys Mini Hockey Match Schedule
1100hrs Ben Rhydding HC v Bilton Grange School
1130hrs Canterbury HC v Exeter Junior School
1200hrs Gresham’s Prep v Ben Rhydding HC
1230hrs Bilton Grange School v Exeter Junior School
1300hrs Gresham’s Prep v Canterbury HC
1400hrs Exeter Junior School v Ben Rhydding HC
1430hrs Bilton Grange School v Gresham’s Prep
1500hrs Ben Rhydding HC v Canterbury HC
1530hrs Exeter Junior School v Gresham’s Prep
1600hrs Canterbury HC v Bilton Grange School
U13 Boys Mini Hockey Match Schedule
1100hrs Belper HC v Dean Close Prep
1130hrs Ben Rhydding HC v Marlow HC
1200hrs Old Loughtonians HC v Belper HC
1230hrs Dean Close Prep v Marlow HC
1300hrs Old Loughtonians HC v Ben Rhydding HC
1400hrs Marlow HC v Belper HC
1430hrs Ben Rhydding HC v Dean Close Prep
1500hrs Marlow HC v Old Loughtonians HC
1530hrs Belper HC v Ben Rhydding HC
1600hrs Old Loughtonians HC v Dean Close Prep
Nick Martin, England Hockey Competitions and Events Assistant Manager, Yazoo National Youth Hockey Festival Manager, 01628 897500