This week saw the under 14s at Lee Valley and just miss out on reaching the final by goal difference.
Starting with a pool match against a quick Sevenoaks side, we found ourselves two goals down early on. The second half saw us take a grip of the game and it was played almost entirely in their half with us having the vast majority of possession. But they defended with great determination to minimise our chances and we just couldn’t get our first goal to get the ball rolling.
So our next game against the traditionally strong Repton was a win or bust match. Changing formation we double-teamed their England under 16 star absolutely brilliantly. Although one player light around the rest of the pitch, the girls increased their workrate and performance resulting in a goal just before half time. The second half was a continuation of the first half – a tense and tight battle between two quality teams. They got a short corner just 4 minutes from time and their England player beat a few of our defenders and shot, only for the ball to hit our foot on the line. As the rebound came out she shot again, but just before the ball went over the line for a goal the umpire awarded a penalty flick. With this bit of fortune, Liv Barker then made a brilliant save and we held out for the last few minutes to record a famous 1-0 victory that threw the group wide open.
Our final pool game was against a spirited Hill House side who had drawn 0-0 with Sevenoaks in their second match and they worked extremely hard to restrict us. We finally managed to get a flick that was expertly converted by Mattie Hamilton five minutes before half time. The second half still saw us on top and we finally managed to double our tally a few minutes before the end to win 2-0.
So we had to wait for the Sevenoaks vs Repton match to know our fate. A draw or 1-0 win to Repton would see us through to the final. Unfortunately Repton took a 2-0 lead and although Sevenoaks got one back to make it interesting, Repton scored a third to qualify for the final, in which their England player scored another couple of goals to give them the title.
With the tournament being rearranged, there was no time for a third / fourth play-off but with a better record than the second team in the other pool, we took third position.
Richard Organ, Director of Hockey was full of praise “It was a great learning experience – from how to respond to a disappointing start, to how to cope with a strong individual. What really pleased me was the way the girls adjusted to a new formation and upped their performance – this bodes really well for the future.”
Team: Annie Arbuthnott, Liv Barker, Mathilda Bown, Millie Charnock, Catie Chauhan, Harriet Cole, Ciara Evans, Maddie Graham, Mattie Hamilton, Siena Keijsers, Immy Pilling, Jess Rowlands, India Scott, Boau-Lily Shepherd, Eliza Wheeler, Halle Wilks, Lucy Wyatt