The Merton School Sport Partnership held its annual Year 5/6 Quicksticks Hockey Borough Competition on Friday 17th November 2017 at King’s College Sports Ground. 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.

Sixteen 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 St Mary’s, both teams proving they were going to be a force to contend with; Sacred Heart also managed to secure a win against Poplar after defending hard for the final minutes of the game after taking charge early on, eventually securing a final score of 5-2. Other entertaining games consisted of Wimbledon Chase against Bishop Gilpin, with both teams determined to go for the win, it was only through some resolute defending the score remained 1-1. Merton Park narrowly beat Links 2-1 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 St Matthews and St Mary’s posting some strong results against Hatfeild and West Wimbledon. Poplar and Sacred Heart were taking control of league 2 as The Priory and Liberty battled to keep track of the leaders and maintain pressure on them. League 3 had Merton Park and St Teresa’s in a tight contest for top spot, with nothing being able to separate them as they played out a 0-0 draw. Bishop Gilpin and Dundonald looked strong in league 4 with some hard fought wins and excellent defensive displays ensuring they finished in the top two, Dundonald taking a 1-0 with in their game to ensure first place.

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 Poplar and St Teresa’s, 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, Poplar persisted and managed to secure a 2-0 win. The other semi-final between Bishop Gilpin and St Mary’s ended up with the same result, this time Bishop Gilpin scoring the goals to put them into the final.

The final was a common occurrence during Merton Quicksticks competitions, between Poplar and Bishop Gilpin. The majority of play was in midfield, as the standard of play from both teams was very similar and of a high standard. The game resulted in going to extra time and golden goal. Bishop Gilpin were able to score with moments to spare and win the competition via golden goal. Congratulations to Bishop Gilpin for becoming the Merton Borough Quicksticks Hockey Champions 2017, they will now proceed to represent Merton at the London Youth Games in March 2018.

Final positions are as follows:

1st- Bishop Gilpin
2nd- Poplar
3rd- St Mary’s
4th- St Teresa’s
5th- Sacred Heart
6th- St Matthew’s
7th- Dundonald
8th- Merton Park
9th- Wimbledon Chase
10th- West Wimbledon
11th- Hollymount
12th- Hatfeild
13th- Wimbledon Park
14th- The Priory
15th- Liberty
16th- Links

Thank you to all the schools that took part and to the Rutlish Hockey Team for umpiring all the matches. A big thank you to King’s College for letting us use their fantastic facilities. A special mention to Wimbledon Hockey Club for attending with one of their players, Australian international Nate Stewart 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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