Inter-District gives girls chance to make grade

THE Scotland age-grade coaches will this week be contacting the girls who impressed them most at the recent Youth Inter-District hockey event at Peffermill as they look to select their squads for 2011.

The Inter-District tournament, which encompasses both under-16 and under-18s, is seen by all involved in girls' school hockey as the biggest weekend of the season and it brought together the best players from East, West, the Midlands, the South, the North and the South West.

The two-day event was attended by national coaches and selectors, and Scottish Hockey's Youth Development Officer Steven Percy said: "For many years the Inter-District weekend has been a big one for schools hockey and this year was no different. It gives coaches and selectors the chance to watch players who they may only previously have heard about and as a result the standard is always high as the players look to impress.

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"The coaches like to get the national squads together around this time of year so that it gives them a number of months to work with the girls on all aspects of the game before international matches come around in the summer time."

Traditionally in girls' hockey, the East and West have been the strongest regions over the years and have often won the Inter-District event.

"Schools in those areas have tended to produce the best players and they also have bigger player numbers to call upon, but other regions are improving and that is why the Inter-District event is still so important because it lets the best come together at one time, and of course just being selected for your district is a big honour," Percy added.

In the under-18 event, Jordanhill School pupil Nina Dickson scored the winning goal as the team from the West emerged triumphant.

Dickson's goal was the only one to separate the West and East in the final following two days of competition.

Also in the under-18 event the Midlands managed to clinch third place with a 1-0 win over the South in the third/fourth place play-off. The only goal in that match came from Glenalmond College's Charlotte Lergerlotz. The North beat the South West 3-2 to take fifth place, Hannah MacPherson from Robert Gordon's College leading the way with two goals.

On the first day of competition, the eventual runners-up from the East had looked the strongest side with a 4-1 win over the South and a 6-0 victory over the South West amongst their results.

In the under-16 event, Jenny Polson of George Heriot's notched two goals as the East defeated the West 3-2 in an exciting final.The other scorer for the East in that match was Millie Brown (Fettes College), while Jenny Eadie and Danielle Gibson, from Hutchesons' Grammar and the High School of Glasgow respectively, replied for the West.

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The Midlands defeated the South 3-1 to take third place, Cerys Williams scoring twice. The South West and the North drew 0-0 to tie for fifth place.

Earlier in the day the East had looked good in seeing off the North 5-0, Ailie Clapperton from George Watson's College scoring twice. On the first day the most impressive result came in the opening tie when goals from Maisie Morris (Kelvinside Academy), Alice MacArthur (High School of Glasgow) and Lomond School's Fiona Burnet saw the West win 3-0 over the Midlands.

The girls who were involved at both age-grades will now be waiting anxiously to hear if they have made national selection, while the Scottish Schools Cup gets under way next week at under-18 level as the school hockey season moves on apace.