Junior girls hockey carnival hosted August 11

"Not since 2002 has the Barossa Valley Hockey Association been in a position to hold competitions just for girls," president Gail Kirby explains.

A decrease in junior numbers at that time meant mixed sex competitions for juniors have been run since then.

"This can lead to a drop in skill level for some girls as they can often become just the bit-players in the team," she said.

On Sunday, August 11, the Junior Girls Hockey Carnival was held at Stockwell, with five teams from the BVHA Association clubs.

Teams played each other once, totalling four games for each team, and playing 12-minute half games, nine-a-side.

According to Mrs Kirby, since then the BVHA has been conscious of the need to offer opportunities for all players to learn and execute skills in their developing years, and to have competitions where all players can flourish.

With a good increase of junior girls in the U11 and U13 mixed competition, former BVHA president Sue Stephen and BVHA junior development co-ordinator Danni Casey, had the vision and drive on getting some type of girls competition going, for the past year.

"Feeling that holding the girls carnival would give our junior girls the chance to fill all key roles on the field such as goal scorer, mid fielder, defender and goal keeper and to execute pivotal roles in set plays," Mrs Kirby said.

These skills are important for their development, and also for occasions where they come together as girls teams to play in external competitions such as junior state championships and school competitions.

Having coached the SAPSASA Barossa and Light girls hockey team for the past four years, Mrs Kirby noted the confidence gained by the girls who go and play in the girls competition for the week.

"You hope that every player will improve when playing at a carnival, but the difference with the girls especially, in skills and confidence is noticeable," she said.

The carnival also works to provide small rewards such as getting a medal for being the best player were opened up for them.

"While this was just a once off day for this year, the improvement in skills and the increase in confidence as the day progressed was obvious.

"Hopefully this will lead eventually to the BVHA being able to again offer separate competitions for boys and girls," she added.