Chris Glover looking over his shoulder. Photo c/o Phil Kielthy

Ladies 1st XI Manager – Chris Glover’s programme notes for this Saturday’s fixture at Nottingham Hockey Centre at 2pm against Ben Rhydding.
Having made our way through the tentative first weeks of the season we now enter a crucial period in the build up to the Christmas break. As a school teacher, you often organise your year into chunks, and that is very much how we have to see the hockey season.
There is no doubt our first term has seen us make some excellent progress. Indeed, OFSTED might well say there have been some ‘outstanding’ features. However, one good term does not make a good year, and we know we have much work to do before we can be satisfied with our overall progress!
I always feel the next half term is one of the toughest at school with the short days, cold and wet weather and the fatigue that can set in for both pupils and staff, and I have no doubt that this next six weeks will be as equally tough for us on the hockey pitch.
This weekend, we face Ben Rhydding who arrive at Nottingham Hockey Centre off the back of a good away win last week at Sutton Coldfield. The Yorkies will have no doubt been delighted by their second place finish in Investec Conference North last season, and while they have seen some inconsistency so far, we know they will be well organised and hard to break down.
We then follow our game on Saturday with a tough away trip to Sutton Coldfield in the 2nd round of the Investec Women’s Cup on Sunday. Across both days, we will have to use our full squad if we are to ensure we are successful.
It has been a real delight this week to see that three of our girls have been selected in the England U21 squad for a tournament in Valencia in Spain next week. This is a crucial phase in the build up to the Under 21 World Cup taking place in December, so we wish Rebekah Walker, Eloise Stenner and Esme Burge all the best for the week ahead. For Esme this is a particularly impressive selection as she is just 17 years old, and we will be watching the progress of all three girls closely as they represent the club on international duty. We are also delighted to see our Head Coach Colin Clarke form part of the coaching team for the trip to Valencia, and while we will miss him for the week, myself and Phil Rhodes are looking forward to deputising in his absence.
Last weekend saw us drop our first points of the season with a hard fought draw at Durham. While many outside observers commented to me that we must have been pleased with a good point on your travels, when we reflected on the game we were pretty disappointed we did not come away with all three. We had good possession in the attacking third for much of the game, but we were not as clinical as we had been in previous weeks. We know that we must not let that happen today. Having said that, Durham also had chances to claim more than a point, and so at this stage we must continue to be satisfied with the progress we are making. For OFSTED, that is all that matters, and progress is what we need this weekend, both in terms of the quality of our hockey, but also the number of points we accumulate.
Finally, I would like to offer a huge thank you to our match sponsors this week Sector Design who are proud sponsors of Phoebe Willars. I would also like to offer a warm welcome to our umpires Ian Hay and Sophie Parker, along with our Match Delegate Christine O’Donovan. I hope all our spectators enjoy another fantastic afternoon’s hockey at Nottingham Hockey Centre.
Chris Glover – Ladies 1st XI Manager