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Plenty of optimism as Bailey’s Bay hockey teams start to thrive

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Bailey’s Bay Budgies Grey and Red (Photograph supplied)

Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club has broken new ground by joining the Bermuda Hockey Federation Women’s League for the first time.

The Hamilton Parish club is being represented by two teams this season after striking up a partnership with the former Budgies Field Hockey Club and Bailey’s Bay Budgies Red and Bailey’s Bay Budgies Grey now compete in a league including Robins and Ravens.

“This partnership has been a topic of conversation forever between myself and Stephen [Outerbridge, Bailey’s Bay president],” Tse Smith, the team manager, said.

“Being from Bay, the opportunity continues to excite me to see just where this partnership could go and how it could benefit not just our respective clubs but the community as well.

“The partnership is pretty new but many of our senior players have become members of Baileys Bay Cricket Club and we plan to become more involved in the club and its initiatives.”

The new teams have endured contrasting fortunes, with the unbeaten Reds leading the four-team standings and Grey sitting bottom without a win under their belt, but Smith and her players are thrilled to be back in action.

“We returned to the league last year feeling excited, hopeful and ready,” she said. “We have thoroughly enjoyed returning to the league and playing with everyone.

“We learnt that one team had pulled out of the league due to low numbers, so we thought we could try to maintain a level of competitiveness by entering two teams and this is actually the first time we have had sister teams.”

Running two teams has sometimes left the squads stretched and Smith admits the season has not always gone smoothly.

“Between injuries, travel and some players returning to further their education this season, we have found ourselves playing short at times,” she said. “But our energy and fight remains, which is what I love most about Budgies.

Bailey's Bay Budgies Red (Photograph supplied)

“It’s also been a change for us having a full- time coach. When our long-time coach Daffyd Hermann-Smith finished, we became player/coaches, so having Matthew Fullerton on side has been a great addition to the club.”

It is no secret that Smith held high hopes for at least one of her teams this season and her players have their task cut out if they are to exceed expectations.

“Budgies returned to the league with the goal of not only winning the 2022-23 season, but doing so undefeated,” she said.

“Our team has evolved from a few senior players to two sister teams committed to transitioning to a developmental club. We aim to ensure that women’s field hockey is passed down for generations to come.

“Field hockey is an empowering sport for women and provides an opportunity for girls as young as nine to build confidence, engage in team building activities and learn sportsmanship.

“This season, our two teams have six players from Bermuda’s most recent national squad; five under-21 players and 22 senior players.”

Hockey at Bailey’s Bay is now thriving and Smith is delighted to watch her players achieving their goals

“Due to this being the first season back, our goals were simple; to revive the team and get back into the swing of things,” she said.

“With multiple players on the Central American and Caribbean Games training squad, we have both international talent as well as new talent. Also we have welcomed back faces who have been missing for years who want to experience the new vibe.”

As well establishing themselves as a formidable force in the league, Smith and her colleagues are trying to raise the sport’s profile both within their community and island-wide.

“The Baileys Bay club is a mainstay in the Hamilton Parish community and we would love to see some more new Budgies from this community and beyond,” she added.

“Boosting the status and awareness of hockey island-wide would be a long-term goal. What we saw in terms of support last April when Bermuda qualified for the Central American and Caribbean Games was amazing and hopefully we can reach a level where league games are supported the same way.

“Representing our sponsors and partners with pride and continuing the winning tradition of Baileys Bay club goes without saying. We want to win on the pitch but also off it.”

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Published February 09, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated February 09, 2023 at 7:58 am)

Plenty of optimism as Bailey’s Bay hockey teams start to thrive

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