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Army Under 25s Hockey Team

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Team Coach U25

 

WO2 J Parry Royal Signals (John)
30 Signal Regiment
Gamecock Barrack
Bramcote, Nuneaton
Warwickshire
CV11 6QN

Tel Mil – 94423 2915 Civ 01455 222915

Mob: 07965750897

Email: john.parry531@mod.uk
Email: 30SIG-RHQ-OPS-REGT-FOFSIS (Parry, John SSgt)

ARMY U25 SEASON REPORT 2015/2016

The 2015/16 hockey season saw the Army Under 25s continue to build on the success of the previous season.  A number of players from the 2014/15 season have been promoted to the Senior team, which has made room for some new faces.  The season followed the usual formula that has proved successful over the last few years.  Comprising of the annual tour of Scotland, a number of club matches culminating in the Inter-Services indoor and outdoor competitions.

Scotland Tour 2015

The Scotland tour in October 2015 provided an excellent training camp prior to the indoor competition, allowing the team to bond and letting the coaches ‘tweek’ the squad and tactics.  Tuesday night saw the team play against our regular starting fixture Inverlieth HC in Edinburgh, who proved again to be a formidable opponent. There were some new faces on the Inverlieth team, as we were later informed by their coach, consisting of a GB development player and 4 U18 Scottish Junior Internationals. Another lesson learnt with the U25s losing 9-2 in the end. The defeat, as always proved useful, with the footage of the match being used to show the players what was needed to win our next matches.  The rest of the tour saw the team build on the lessons learnt from Inverleith, with comfortable wins against; Gordonstoun School (14-0), North U18/20, Granite City Warriors (9-2), rounding off an excellent tour, ensuring the team was ready for the Inter-Services indoor tournament.

Inter-Services Indoor Competition 2015

Entering the competition having just finished the Scotland tour the team was confident that we could perform the same way as last year.  We started slowly, with the team losing shape and pace allowing the RAF & Navy to put pressure on us. With couple of adjustments and a few constructive comments from the bench, the U25s started to play hockey the way they had in Scotland. Winning both matches, Navy 4-2 and a close RAF 5-4, Army U25 regained their title 3 years in row now, but we still have a lot to learn about the game.

Due to the late confirmation from Hampshire HA, we were unable to enter the England Hockey Indoor Tournament in December 2015. This is something we are looking at applying for again next season.

Outdoor season 2016

The January fixtures were unfortunately called off as a number of key players were on leave or Adventurous Training

February saw the team play a couple of fixtures in preparation for the Inter-Services outdoor competition.  The first of these fixtures was against Yateley HC, who fielded a mixed team consisting of their first and second. Yateley’s game plan was to apply pressure on the Army U25 defence.  In the first 3 minutes U25 defence managed to turnover the ball on the 25 line, quickly turning defence into attack. By-passing the midfield, rounding off the move with a goal. The remainder of the first half saw the U25s dominating the game and scoring a couple more goals.  The second half started as the first finished, with Yateley on the back foot allowing the U25s to apply pressure on their defence.  The U25s scoring a further 3 goals in the second half, Yateley valiantly played on to score a consolation goal in the closing minutes, with the match ending 6-1.

The biggest fixture of the year was against England U18s, a prestigious fixture that both the players and staff of the U25s where honoured to be part of. The fixture was held a Lillieshall NSC, near Telford in late February, with National league appointed umpires, the boys had to be on there best behaviour whilst on the  pitch. The first 15 minutes was back & forth for both teams, but mainly U25s being on the back foot. It all changed when England rotated an extra man from their defence to create an overload on one side, which left an extra man unmarked! The half time whistle saw the U25s trailing 3-0 to England. A change in game plan for the second half in an attempt to limit contain the England U18s saw the U25s adopt a half court press. England had to work hard to break the press, the loss of the main defender, meant the U25s had to drop the centre mid back, limiting our attacking options and control of the midfield. The final result was 9-0 to England. England were technically floorless, they could move players into any position as still maintain the quality & tempo. At one point their centre forward had rotated into a defensive position! The England manager praised the resilience of the U25s and despite the score said that it was a good match for his team, we are hopeful of a repeat fixture for next season – TBC.  The U25 players, as always used this fixture as an opportunity to develop their own game, focussing on what could be improved for the Inter-Services outdoor competition.

Interservices Outdoor Mar 16

Pre IS training was held at RMAS, the pitch is slower than the tournament pitches in Aldershot, which meant the players had to work the ball harder to keep the pace and tempo up. We were offered a warm up fixture against Havant HC, who fielded a mixed team from their 3rd and 4th XI teams. The match was played at a very fast pace, even though the U25s had the pace and stamina advantage over.  The game was not one sided with Havent using their main advantage of playing as a team on a regular basis to adopt tactics that negated our advantage. The match ended with the U25s winning 6 – 3.
Our first fixture was against a scratch team of 9 players from the Royal Navy. Sadly the U25s started the same as every other year, sitting back and allowing the opposition to dictate the game, conceding 3 goals in 20 minutes! After some very strong words from the Manager, the boys started to play like they should do. They pressed really high and man-marked the Navy back into their own half. The final result being a 6 -3 win for the Army.
Our second fixture against the RAF was a much improved performance, the Army dominated for much of the game and the 6 – 1 score line did not reflect the total supremacy we had.
Despite the shaky starts to each match – (something I will need to look into next season) we are still the dominant force of the tournament, a total of 13 players from my team were selected to represent Armed forces at U25 level from up and coming Tournament to Blackpool.

Final Words

Overall it has been a good season with lots to look forward to.  The Army U25s & Senior men are moving closer together so, with plans to align training camps so that both teams can get to know each other.  This should make the transition from U25s to Seniors less daunting. As always it was nice to see some of the U25s moving up to the Senior team. At the moment I have 35+ players on my books and 7 new players to come, which I have yet to see. I would like to add a thank you to WO2 John Parry for stepping into the Head Coach role and to Captain Pete Rosser for his advice and wisdom over the past 6 years, making my transition from coach to team manager easy. I have promised the AU25 team that I would minimise the team talk to a couple of minutes!

Sgt Jamie Fowler
Army U25 Team Manager

 

 

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