The England Hockey Awards are being held on 11th May at The Athena area in Leicester. To mark the end of a fabulous year for the club, which has seen both the Ladies 1st and Men's 1st teams promoted, the icing on the cake has been for the Ladies to make the final 7 in the Ladies Team of the Year category.
The club has had much success in recent years at these awards, with Jon Cloke shortlisted for Official of the Year last year, Jess Jecketts shortlisted for Coach of the Year in 2015 and the whole Club winning England Hockey Club of the Year in 2014.
However, this year, it is the turn of the Ladies 1st XI, who sadly lost their first match of the season last week against second placed Hampton, that have made the final cut - though the Men's 1st XI should also be heralded for their fantastic unbeaten run since before Christmas which has seen them move to clear second in their division.
The criteria are varied for the award, with many of the teams up against the Sils with much stronger playing records - local club Barford Tigers have scored goals for fun in Warwickshire Division 3, whilst winning all of their matches this season, whilst Rugby & EW continue their fine form in the Midlands leagues with their third promotion in a row.
The Sils ladies though do have extra elements to their entry though, which some of the others perhaps do not. At the end of last season, the Ladies had lost their Captain, their Player Coach, their top goalscorer and their assistant coach, meaning the team has been almost completely rebuilt this season, focussing on youth - with 8 of the regular squad aged U18 - and 11 players in total U18 playing for the side during the season. Sophie, Caro and Ursula have also coached every week on both a Sunday morning, and at the Friday night academy, whilst Caro, Ursula and 1st Team Coach Steve Tabb have also all umpired at local tournaments (on three different occasions supporting Rugby School with their tournaments). Caro has also, more recently, been umpiring Birmingham University Ladies on both Saturdays and Wednesdays.
If that was not enough, Libby and Hattie attended the Introduction to Umpiring event we held, and we have also supplied 3 Coaches to run the County Development Centre and Academy Centre squads this year as well. This is not the only local support though that has been done, with coaching and umpiring provided every week to Solihull and Arden Schools.
Perhaps the most pleasing element of all though, has been that whenever asked, the Ladies 1st team players have played for the 2nd XI, with Annabel, Ruth, Aline, Izzy, Priya, Maria and Lucy all taking their turns, and training has seen a great mix of the squads, encouraging all the young players to come to training as much as possible, and this has been reflected in the Ladies 2nd XI finishing in their highest league position for 16 years.
A lot to be proud of, and thanks to everyone involved for helping this season to happen. If you wish to join the fun on the 11th May, all are welcome - tickets are £49.50, though the players will get a small reduction on this (due to having a couple of free tickets). Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are keen to attend.