The Merton School Sport Partnership held its annual Year 5/6 Quicksticks Hockey Borough Competition on Friday 15th November 2019 at Raynes Park High School. Quicksticks is a modified version of hockey suitable for primary aged children. Games consist of four players on pitch with no goalkeepers; this makes it easier for primary schools to play, as accessing a goal keeping kit is a tricky and costly affair. Quicksticks hockey also requires the players to rotate each game, giving them the chance to act as a coach, scorer and to give all players an equal chance to take part.

Twentyone teams from across the borough took part in the event. The competition consisted of four leagues with each team moving forward into their respective finals playoff games to determine an overall position. The competition format ensured that all schools had plenty of games to keep the children warm and active on a cold and wintry day.

All teams were eager to go and great with their rotations that meant the competition ran smoothly. St Matthews opening game was promising with a close win against Merton Park, both teams proving they were going to be a force to contend with; Poplar A also managed to secure a win against St John Fisher after taking charge early on and showing their dominance. Other entertaining games consisted of Wimbledon Chase against St Teresa’s, with both teams determined to go for the win, it was only through some resolute defending the score remained 1-0 to Wimbledon Chase. Wimbledon Park narrowly beat Sacred Heart A 4-2 with a clever free pass to the back post to score their final goal.

Midway through the league matches, it started to emerge as to which teams looked favorites; League 1 had Hollymount and Morden posting some strong results. St Matthews and West Wimbledon were taking control of league 2 as Hatfeild battled to keep track of the leaders and maintain pressure on them. League 3 had Bishop Gilpin and Wimbledon Park in a tight contest for top spot, with nothing being able to separate them until they played with Bishop Gilpin deservedly taking the spoils. Garfeild looked strong in league 4 with some hard fought wins and excellent defensive displays to ensure first place in the top two, with Wimbledon Chase taking a 2-1 win over Poplar B to claim the second spot.

After all the league games had finished each school had a final game to determine their overall position within the competition. The semi-final consisting of Hollymount and Wimbledon Park, during the competition it was evident that both teams had been tactically coached prior to the competition. There were waves of attacks from both teams but both defenses were solid and did not give up without a fight. However, Hollymount persisted and managed to secure a 1-0 win. The other semi-final between Bishop Gilpin and St Matthew’s ended up with the same result, this time Bishop Gilpin scoring the goal to put them into the final.

The final was a close encounter with the majority of play was in midfield, as the standard of play from both teams was very similar and of a high standard. Hollymount took an early lead but Bishop Gilpin were able to score an equaliser but then with moments to spare Hollymount launched one final attack and scored to win the competition. Congratulations to Hollmount for becoming the Merton Borough Quicksticks Hockey Champions 2019, they will now proceed to represent Merton at the London Youth Games in March 2020.

Final positions are as follows:

1st- Hollymount
2nd- Bishop Gilpin
3rd- St Matthew’s
4th- Wimbledon Park
5th- West Wimbledon
6th- Morden
7th- Garfield
8th- Wimbledon Chase
9th- Poplar A
9th- Sacred Heart A
9th- Poplar B
9th- Hatfeild
13th- St John Fisher
13th- Holy Trinity
13th- Aragon
13th- St Teresa’s

Thank you to all the schools that took part and to the Wimbledon Hockey Club for umpiring all the matches. A big thank you to Raynes Park High School for letting us use their fantastic facilities. A special mention to Wimbledon Hockey Club, GB  player, Ed Horler who performed some outstanding skills displays and coaching for the children. He stayed throughout the competition, signing autographs and handing out prizes supplied by the hockey club.

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