A WINCHESTER school recently celebrated the re-laying of its astroturf pitch with a festival of hockey.

Hundreds of participants and spectators turned out for the event on Saturday, October 8. 

In temperatures peaking at 26° and more typical of June than October, the school welcomed current and ex-pupils, members of Winchester Hockey Club and the England Over 40s Spirit of Masters Hockey team. 

The day started with a minis session, involving 100 under eight and under 10 boys and girls from the Winchester Hockey Club junior section. 

The session was in part led by a number of Kings’ pupils, many of whom enjoyed the spring tour to The Netherlands. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Kings' U16 Girls vs Kings' Alumni, staff and guests

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Next on the programme was the Kings’ U16 boys’ hockey team vs the Kings’ alumni men’s side. The game was played at a fast and furious pace, with the alumni side drawing a number of excellent saves from Kings’ U16 goalkeeper Finn Lacey. 

The alumni side have all individually enjoyed successful club and university hockey careers so established a 3-0 lead. But the Kings’ side never gave up and an excellent move from Rory Jack and Matthew Richman, put England Lions player Tom Nolan through to blast a diving tomahawk into the roof of the net for the goal of the day and a respectable 3-1 scoreline.

Hampshire Chronicle: WHC chairman Andy Craig

The Kings’ Girls’ Under 16 side were next to pit their wits against a ladies Kings’ Alumni side, featuring a number of current Kings’ staff and Winchester Hockey Club players. 

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The game ebbed and flowed but the composed, clinical finishing of the alumni side was the difference with them eventually running out 6-0 winners. Bea Eaton and Amelia Wakely, alongside Finn Lacey, Rory Jack and Tom Nolan from the boys’ side have recently made it into the South Coast Talent Academy.

Head of PE Alastair Birch gave a short speech, recognising the contribution of a number of individuals whose hard work ensured that the school and the club now have a new blue hockey surface. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Kings' head of PE Ally Birch

Before the final match of the day, all present first fell silent and then offered a minute’s applause in memory of Nicky Ellis, Pam Fisher and John Goodman, all of whom were club stalwarts who died this year. 

The final game was a fitting tribute to all three, with the Kings’ men’s alumni going toe to toe with the England O40s Spirit of Master’s side, who played in the World Master’s Hockey European Championships in the summer. 

The Kings’ alumni side created a number of good chances before Craig Jeffrey broke the deadlock in the second half. With the bare eleven, the England side responded with a number of good chances of their own before Stuart Clark finished with aplomb to leave honours even.