AKS U18 hockey squad moved indoor to play in the North of England Indoor Finals and once again proved a force to be reckoned with despite being an inexperienced indoor hockey team.
The first section game saw us against Manchester High school and we soon got into the swing of the indoor game playing some excellent hockey and we went into an early lead when Captain Mollie M converted from a corner. Lifted by the goal we grew in confidence and four more goals from Rebecca W, Grace W, Sophie B and a second from Mollie M saw us win 5 - 0 and get our first points on the board.
The second game saw us against a strong Wakefield side. They started quickly but great defending from Farah D, Mollie M and Rebecca W thwarted the Wakefield attacks and we took the lead when a superb pass from Mollie M found Grace W up front and she used her skills to round the Wakefield defender and slip it past the keeper to make it 1-0. Great corner defence maintained our lead seconds later and then G came close to getting her second only to see her shot well saved by the Wakefield keeper. In an end to end game two great saves by Emily P maintained our lead and we then went further ahead when great closing down from Jade F allowed Grace W to win the ball and when her shot was saved Jade F was on hand to force the ball over the line to make it 2-0. Wakefield then threw everything at us but great team defending constantly won the ball back and we almost went further ahead when a great driving run from Rebecca W saw her beat several players before slipping the ball to Jade F but her shot flew just wide. In the final five minutes Mollie M sealed the win with an excellent drag flick at a corner to make it 3-0 and secure 3 more points.
Going into the final group game we knew a win would see us top the group but with The Grange School still with a chance of securing a semi-final spot of their own with a win we knew it would be another tough game. We started the game in the best possible way with a goal in only the second minute thanks to a run and pass from Grace W that found Sophie B free on the left post and she made no mistake in finding the net to make it 1-0. We continued to defend well and Mollie M found the net with a superb individual goal in the 4th minute to make it 2-0. Great tackling by Farah D constantly won back possession and Mollie M linked well with Mille D on the right to create more scoring opportunities and put The Grange on the back foot. In the 14th minute Grace W won a corner with great driving hockey and Mollie M duly converted to make it 3-0 and when she added another to make it 4-0 late in the game we secured another win having scored 12 goals without conceding and so deservedly topping our section and securing a place in the semi-final.
The semi-final saw us against the experienced Hymers side. We started superbly and got onto the score sheet in the first minute when a superb pass out of defence from Mollie M found Grace W infront of goal and she slipped the ball past the outrushing keeper to make it 1-0. Hymers then showed their experience moving the ball from front to back quickly and they put us under pressure and won a corner which they scored from with a well-worked routine to make it 1-1. Lifted by their goal Hymers attacked at pace and once again we had to defend at our best but it was Hymers who went ahead half way through the match. With everything still to play for and Mollie M dominant in the centre we continued to create chances and Mollie came close to equalising at a corner, seeing her great flick fly over the crossbar. Hymers always carried an attacking threat and they went further ahead when they converted another corner to make it 3-1. They could have finished the game off minutes later when they were awarded a penalty stroke but a great save from Emily P in goal kept us in the game and when Mollie M made it 2-3 with a great reverse stick flick it was all to play for! We threw everything at Hymers for the last few minutes but the experienced indoor side thwarted our best efforts and at the final whistle the score remained at 2-3 and a case of ‘what might have been’ with Hymers progressing to the final.
Over the tournament every member of the squad played superbly. We definitely had the best team but were beaten by a more experienced indoor team and the team can take great pride in how well we played and that we proved we were a force to be reckoned with indoor as well as outdoor.