2015 - 2016
At the start of the season the senior players focus was on preparing for the tour, which after a late switch in venue, was planned for early October. Barcelona was the new choice and it proved to be the best ever European Girls tour.
The hockey was of an excellent standard, the setting, up in the hills overlooking Barcelona was spectacular, as was some of the male hockey training sessions at Terrassa! Every day a learning day! All 30 girls benefitted from the whole experience and certainly developed their bargaining skills with purchase on Nike shoes from the street sellers.
Over 40 Year 8 girls practised twice a week under the guidance of a team of coaches. Throughout the season this group of girls enjoyed more competition than any of their predecessors and progressed rapidly from the small sided game to 11 –a-side with flair and skill. Talent is clearly evident at this level and the girls can look forward to a promising hockey career at Friends’.
The U13’s coached by Mrs McQueen and Mrs Thompson have progressed well from first year. The A’s captained by Ella Agnew and Rachel Paul and the B’s captained by Molly Davidson worked with enthusiasm throughout the year. They are already looking forward to next season which begins with a tour to Holland.
Both of the U14 sides, captained by Cathy Fox and Sophie Scott and coached by Ms McMillan and Sophie Glass proved hard to defeat and their development throughout the season has been impressive. The U14AXI had plans to continue their ‘unbeaten in Ulster run’ all the way to the Junior Cup final. All stated well with a 6-0 defeat of Dalriada and whilst Lurgan Junior High School always prove tough, the girls had won 3-0 against their 3rd round opponents at the start of the season. However when it came to the crucial cup game Lurgan turned the tables and put Friends’ out of the cup.
The 3rdXI and 2BXI maintained the high level of success in the Gibson Cup competition. Played on a league basis at the outset, the 3rdXI captained by Emily Hassard, won two out of their 3 matches The 2BXI, led by Jill Holley, convincingly defeated – Lagan College and drew with Victoria College. The 2BXI then began the knockout phase of the competition defeating Ballymena Academy 1-0 in the first round, Down HS B team 7-1 in the quarter final and completely dominated the semi-final winning 4-1 against Strathearn. The final was at Civil Service grounds which provided an exciting backdrop for the final against Down HS A team. Friends’ dominated the game from start to finish and deservedly lifted the trophy after a 3-1 win.
Coaches Miss Davis and Paige Brown were very impressed with the talent and consistent effort all season.
The 2ndXI began their McDowell cup campaign with a 7-0 win against Wellington College. The game was memorable for captain Rachael Foreman who couldn’t contain her joy when she scored her first goal for Friends’. This convincing win was followed by another against Grosvenor Grammar School, this time 5-1. Tougher opposition came in the form of Ballymena Academy in the 3rd round, but despite being away from home for a 3rd time they won 1-0. The quarter final against Ballyclare Secondary School was an exciting match and spurred on by the home crowd they won -2-1. Victoria College were the opponents in the semi-final at Deramore. Victoria started the brighter and put Friends’ under early sustained pressure. In the second half the opposite was the case with Friends’ dominant for most of the period. However the game look like one goal would do it and with 5 minutes remaining Victoria scored an unlikely winner. The 2ndXI squad with 8 Year 14 girls were gutted but could be so proud of their performance.
In the 1st round of the Senior Schools cup the 1stXI were drawn against old rivals Portadown College, whom they had defeated last year in the quarter finals. The result was the same again with Friends’ the victors in a tight match. The 2nd round was an easier affair against Down HS in wet and windy conditions. Sophie Reid’s team romped home 7-0 winners. Friends’ were now set against Rainey Endowed for the 3rd time in 6 years in the indoor venue all 1stXI Ulster squads dread! In a match that Friends’ played the better style of hockey they again finished second losing 3-1. This result placed them in the Shield competition with their opponents Belfast HS. A tense match ensued as Friends’ peppered the goal with endless shots to be thwarted by superb goal keeping. Eventually the goals came with Friends’ winning 2-10. This set up a tasty semi-final with Wallace HS. In a highly competitive game, praised by Stephen Watt, High Performance Manager, UHU, for the standard of hockey, Friends' lost 2-1.
At the end of the season the U12s and 13s made the bi-annual return trip to Wesley College. Friendships were rekindled and a festival of hockey was greatly enjoyed by all.
With the Helen Martin Trophy in its 20th year, Friends' won 7 and drew 2 of the 10 matches to emphatically retain the trophy with 23-5 points. For the first time in years it was a clean sweep for all four senior teams.