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BSN crowned 2018 ISST Hockey Champions

In early November, the BSN ISST hockey team, filled with anticipation, travelled to Belgium for the annual ISST hockey tournament. The tournament, in its 50th year, was held at the Royal Hockey Club in Leuven over two brilliantly sunny, but freezing cold days. Despite the wintry conditions, the competition was hot, with six teams from the Netherlands, Belgium and England all intent on doing their best to win.

On Day One of the round-robin competition, the BSN played two matches against the British School of Brussels in the morning and the International School of Brussels in the afternoon. On each occasion, the BSN put in a strong performance to win. Our attackers took every opportunity to score, our defenders blocked any counter-attack, and our midfield players controlled the games with quick, accurate distribution of the ball.  Our success on Day One gave us confidence for the next day’s matches against the American School of London in the morning and the International School of The Hague in the afternoon. However, our all-out effort had taken its toll on our bodies, and most of the team required physiotherapy for muscle soreness by the end of Day One!

Our first match on Day Two, against the American School of London, gave us chance to test our bodies and take a few risks with our tactics and style of play. Our bodies held up under the strain of another energetic match and our risk-taking paid off – we came away with a convincing win!

Our impressive scores in the first three matches, do not reflect the hard-fought wins on the pitch. Nor do they reflect the mental effort we needed to tune out chants for the opposition from the terraces. All other teams rallied to support our opposition, but the BSN team had tremendous belief in itself and a great determination to give our best no matter what our rivals chanted. In the end, support for the opposition only amplified the atmosphere for us, and helped us tune into the cheers from our own supportive friends and families who came to watch us.

The championship decider came down to the last match on Day Two: the BSN versus the International School of The Hague. Our nervousness at the start showed in our loose play and we conceded a goal early in the first half. Our response was calm fortitude: we each settled into our roles on the pitch and worked together with skill and immense effort to equalize and then go on to score further goals, eventually winning 4-1.

It was a phenomenal performance by the BSN hockey girls, and, on a personal note, marked a pinnacle of my time at the BSN. I am filled with immense gratitude to the team for helping me fulfill my dream to play in the BSN ISST hockey team – a dream launched in Year 7 and realized in Year 13! It was beyond my dream to captain the team, win the tournament, and, alongside two of my team-mates, receive an All-Star Tournament Award. I dedicate my Award to an awesome team with whom strong bonds of friendship will remain well beyond ISST 2018.

The success of the BSN hockey team would not have been possible without the inspiring and dedicated staff who guided and encouraged us in the weeks leading up to the tournament as well as during it. Mrs Rene-Corail and Mrs Bolton organized every detail, cheered and consoled as needed! And Coach Tim brought out the best in each of us and galvanized the team. It is perhaps testament to what winning the hockey ISST means to us all that Coach Tim rates his ISST medal equal to his Olympic medal.

Written by: Gwenna, Year 13

BSN ISST Hockey Captain