Arran Lions roar at first junior hockey tournament

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A small group of Arran Junior Hockey Club (AJHC) players, called the Arran Lions, were the overall winners of the first junior event at St Mathew’s Academy in Saltcoats.

The event, taking place on Hallowe’en, saw three Arran teams consisting of 14 children and two Ardrossan teams with 11 children, competing for the ceremonial Pumpkin Trophy.

The tournament was a scaled down version of what was originally planned for the day and it took place at a different venue than planned owing to a last minute change.

Originally scheduled to take place between Arran, Ardrossan and Ayr hockey clubs with around 70 under 10 and under 12 children attending, the event took a turn when high winds, floods and cancellations nearly saw the whole thing being called off.

On the day of the match high winds put the ferry on amber alert and while enroute to the venue, a greatly reduced AJHC were informed that the Ardossan pitch had flooded and that Ayr had to withdraw at the last minute.

Thankfully, the hosts, Ardrossan Academy Former Pupils Hockey Club (AAFPHC) secured a new venue at St Mathews Academy in Saltcoats and the event was still able to go ahead.

AAFPHC arranged a selection of warm up races and games, a round robin of matches, Halloween treat bags, musical statues and a semi-final and final match for the overall winner of the tournament.

After a troublesome morning things started to look up for the young players when by the afternoon the rain stopped, the pitch was cleared of water, and the semi-final and final matches could be played outdoors.

At a final presentation the Arran Lions were announced as the overall winners and were presented with the Pumpkin Trophy.

An AJHC spokeswoman said: ‘It was a wonderful day enjoyed by all, with superb organisation from our Ardrossan hosts. Massive thanks the coaches and parents who attended and a huge well done to our young hockey players who played their socks off and showed great play and sportsmanship throughout.’

The next junior event is scheduled to took place around March next year when Arran will play host to Ardrossan and Ayr hockey clubs.