3 July 2017

During an exciting weekend in North Yorkshire, 13 Cadets from Lothian & Borders represented Scotland in the Army Cadet Force Association’s (ACFA) National Hockey Championship for the first time.

Following an incredible victory at the Scottish Championships earlier in the year, the Lothian & Borders Hockey team fought off stiff competition to be crowned the winners and receive the honour of representing Scotland at Imphal Barracks, York.

The event saw 10 teams from throughout the United Kingdom compete against each other to be crowned National Champions for the Army Cadet Force (ACF) with Cadets overcoming additional challenges including the weather and the fast pace of the day’s events.

Playing four matches over a three-hour period and consuming 48 bottles of water between them, the team led by Cadet Colour Sergeant Stephanie Watson (17) from Colinton were rapturous during their performance and brought the true spirit of the Lothian & Borders Cadets with them.

Following the loss and replacement of players due to other commitments, the team fought hard to gain a good position in the National standings which included Cadets who hadn’t picked up a Hockey Stick previously. Cadet Corporal Katie Barry from Bathgate who has previously represented the Battalion in Football used her transferrable sporting skills to help the team to their success along with Cadet Gabby Kinghorn from Duns joining the team at very short notice.

The team finished the day placing fourth overall conceding a 1-0 defeat against Northern Ireland who took the crown as champions, their 12th successive win in 15 years.

Lothian & Borders Battalion ACF have competed in the Scottish Championships for four years now and this is their first time representing Nationally. 2018 will see males included in the sport which has previously been dominated by females.

Staff Sergeant Instructor (SSI) Louise McCauley is one of the Adult Volunteers involved with the Battalion’s Sports who spoke following the event;

“It’s been a very long time since we thought it possible to enter a team into the National Championship and these girls absolutely played their hearts out in 20-degree heat. They were in high spirits all day and an absolute credit to the Battalion and Scotland. We know the standard for next year and where we are to improve and look forward to a great start for 2018”.

The Lothian & Borders Hockey team who represented Scotland at the National ACFA Championships from left to right;

Front Row: Cdt Gabby Kinghorn – Duns, Cpl Katy Stewart – Musselburgh, L/Cpl Brittany Bruce – Granton, L/Cpl Alice Little – Kelso, L/Cpl Morgan McCauley – Broxburn, C/Sgt Stephanie Watson (Team Captain) – Colinton.

Back Row: Cdt Mya Grieve – Broxburn, L/Sgt Aleisha Kinghorn – Duns, Cpl Mia Kinghorn – Duns, Cpl Katie Barrie – Bathgate, Cpl Taylor Wales – Currie, Sgt Naomi Evans – Broxburn, Cdt Olivia Millar – Dalkeith.

Cadets within Lothian & Borders have the option to take part in a variety of sports and competitions such as athletics, cross country, swimming, football, rugby, hockey and tug-of-war. All involve both boys and girls, but before you reach the national finals, there are regional heats to compete in.

With yet more sport at area and detachment levels, it’s clear that many thousands of cadets all over the country are regularly building their confidence and learning teamwork skills in a spirit of healthy competition through ACF sport.  Senior cadets can apply for the Community Sports Leadership Course, which is currently run twice a year and leads to the Sports Leaders UK, Level 2 Award in Community Sports Leadership.