More than 300 children do battle for borough crown at Waltham Forest Hockey Club's mini-tournament

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Ainslie Wood Ainslie Wood

More than 300 children and 35 teams competed to be crowned borough champions at Waltham Forest Hockey Club’s eighth annual tournament last week.

The tournament, held at Peter May Sports Centre, adopted a four-aside Quicksticks format which involves a larger, lighter hockey ball and a simplified set of rules aimed at encouraging young beginners to take part.

With the games lasting around seven minutes each, there were several close encounters but as the afternoon went on clear winners started to emerge.

The teams to qualify for the quarter-finals were Handsworth, Roger Ascham, Greenleaf, Jenny Hammond, Chingford Church of England and Ainslie Wood.

Normanhurst and Hillyfield were tied at the top of Group D and will play a decider to determine which team takes the final spot in the last eight. Chapel End meanwhile were named best runners-up.

The competition was curtailed by the weather at the end of the group stages and the knock-out rounds will now be rescheduled after half-term.

Event organiser Matt Lovell said: “It was great to see so many kids trying hockey, many for the first time while the feedback we’ve had from the teachers who brought them has been really positive.”

He added: “We’ve also already had a really positive response outside of the competition with a number of parents getting in touch to ask about their kids joining our club which is obviously great as we’re really keen to provide the opportunity locally for anyone of any age or ability to play the sport.”

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