Once again, Celyn had a great Nationals to round off the season, with teams in almost every division! Overall we had wins in the Open AND the Intermediate Junior grades, along with 2nds in the D and C grades. Amy Miller’s Cuda won Best Retrained Racehorse for the whole tournament, which is a huge testament to Amy’s training as he hadn’t played polocrosse until this year! Alex Vickers’ horse Arwen won Best Horse for the Open Junior grade, and Charlotte Marsland’s Tiny, ridden by Emi Goding, won Best Horse in the Intermediate Juniors! Finally, we also had Mollie Edwards taking Best Player in the C grade and Emi Best Player in Intermediate Juniors – how she carried all her prizes and held on to Tiny we’ll never know!
As Nationals was back to the three-day format, almost everyone arrived on the Thursday evening. Celyn camp was soon set up and we were ready for the part everyone had been waiting for – Nationals Afternoon Tea!!! Carys had truly surpassed herself, and we were soon tucked under her gazebo with a huge array of cakes, scones, sandwiches, biscuits, pies and a wonderful selection of teas, not to mention the bunting and the gorgeous vintage china! It has to be said that several people wandered passed, with looks ranging from bemused to envious… we are now considering offering Celyn one-day cake membership for 2015… Huge thanks to Carys for all her fabulous decorating and sandwich making, and to all those who brought along something for the table. It’s safe to say that a new Celyn tradition has been born!
One Friday morning it was time for the parade, which fortunately went without a hitch this year! As last year’s winners, Celyn were up at the front, and it was great to see the sea of red, white and green beneath the flag!
Once the parade was over the games got underway quickly. All our teams played on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so it was a very busy Nationals for us, especially as two teams were often on at the same time, at opposite ends of the grounds! As always, our support crew were excellent, and at some point everyone must have goal-judged, tabled or horse-walked.
Both of our junior teams proceeded to do what they have been doing so well all year, and came out on top, each team winning all their games over the weekend. Our Open Junior team was made up of Lucy, Jess and Alex, all three seasoned players in their last year of juniors. Jess had sadly struggled earlier in the season when both her horses went out, but Jake Hall from Arden kindly lent her Serrocco for Nationals which meant that the three could play together and bring home the trophy for another year!
In the Intermediate Junior division (a new grade for 2014) we had Emi, Gareth and Megan. Having won all their pool games, their final was a tense one. An unfortunate accident in the first chukka meant that the team backed off a little in the second chukka. However, in the third they regained their confidence and had a storming six minutes, with Gareth pulling down ball after ball in the line-out and then galloping up field to pass to Emi over the line, who proceeded to put it through the posts ever time and cement the win!
In the D and C grades both teams won their pools to get into the finals. The Celyn D team of Charlotte, Anna, Jeanette, Kristen, Amy G and Daisy had played some great games over the weekend, including a win against Rugby (always a close game!). Sadly it wasn’t to be in the final, as a strong Kent team took the lead early on and we never quite caught up, so had to be content with the D grade silver once again. We also had a D grade section of Karl, Lily and Rosie who teamed up with our friends Shaun, Gary and Harry of the Northern Lions, although sadly this team wasn’t placed overall.
Our C grade team was made up of Amy M, Alexa, John, Stuart, Gary and Mollie, and again they had some excellent games, culminating in a thrilling final against Rugby. For most of the game it seemed to be neck and neck, with the number ones, Stuart and Amy, throwing goal after goal. However, in the final few chukkas Rugby just managed to jump ahead, and as the final whistle went Celyn had to be content with second place.
For the A grade we had Annie, Beth and Sarah in the ladies section, and Max, Tom and Alex in the men’s. A win against Cotswold on the first day put the team in high spirits, especially as Annie, Alex and Max were all up for World Cup selection. However, unfortunately a loss to Welsh Dragons on the second day put us out of the running. On a happier note though, Max was selected to play in the UK vs USA test matches, and thus became one step closer to the team that will be heading to South Africa next July.
Many thanks to all our wonderful supporters, who worked tirelessly over the three days to help all our players. Congratulations also to Barry for organising another excellent Nationals!