AKS 1st team Goalkeeper Emily P is celebrating after a busy summer of hockey which not only saw her selected as a member of the North of England Pennine Pumas U 15 squad to play in the prestigious Futures Cup tournament but also saw her collecting a silver medal as her team remained undefeated throughout the matches only losing out on top spot after a penalty competition.
Since September Emily has been a member of the England Hockey Fylde Performance Centre based at Mill Farm, Kirkham and has trained and practice hard throughout the year both on and off the pitch. The culmination of the year were two selection tournaments in July in Leeds and all her hard work was rewarded with her selection as part of the 18 athlete squad to represent the North of England as the Pennine Pumas side in the Futures Cup which features the top 72 U16 hockey players in the England as well as teams from Wales and Scotland.
The tournament held in St. Albans started well with the team playing some great hockey to defeat the Wessex Leopards 2 - 1. With the team gaining in confidence and cohesion the second match saw them take on the Welsh side, the Celtic jaguars. The team started well and were soon two goals ahead with some great passing hockey and superb finishing. More goals saw the team go into the half time break 4-0 ahead and when more goals followed soon after the break the result was in no doubt with the final score 7-0 .
The two wins saw the Pumas team progress into the final against midlands based Mercia Lynx. With the teams evenly matched the game was a fantastic standard with both sides playing fast, exciting, attacking hockey and creating chances but some great saves from Emily saw the scores remain level at the break. The second half saw the Pumas up their game and they created several fantastic scoring opportunities and were unlucky not to go ahead but great goalkeeping by the Lynx keeper prevented us from scoring and at the final whistle the teams could not be separated and the 0-0 scoreline saw the game being decided on penalty shuffles as in the Rio Olympic Final!
Having never faced a penalty shoot-out before it was a daunting prospect for Emily but she did a fantastic job saving the first Lynx shuffle but good efforts from the Lynx outfield players saw them score three of their efforts without reply and so the Pumas side had to settle for a well deserved silver medal.
Overall a superb tournament with some great hockey being played by all the young hockey players who will make up the England U16 squad for the 2019 season and Emily can be very proud of her silver medal which she thoroughly deserves after all her hard work in the gym and on the pitch.