This has been a truly exceptional hockey season for our junior girls. After recently being crowned North West Hockey Champions the final leg of our journey was a trip to Leeds for the North of England Hockey Finals.
It was an early start, leaving AKS at 7am, but the girls were in high spirits and were looking forward to another memorable day of hockey. After a two and a half hour journey, the team warmed up well, and had Hymers College from Hull in their first group game. A slow start enabled our opposition to score early on. However, heads did not drop and we quickly gained control of the match with our usual slick passing. Numerous attacks down the right with Kirtika and Carly linking up well, led to a penalty corner which Carly struck. The shot was saved, but Charlotte reacted quickest to equalise. AKS continued to dominate, and another fine move enabled Carly to set up Jessie and she finished with aplomb. Jessica and Lisa defended well and cleared any possibilities of Hymers getting back into the game. A 2-1 victory was just what we needed in our opening match.
The second group game was against King’s Macclesfield. This proved to be a tough encounter. They were a very physical side and were able to score an early goal. Once again though, the AKS team remained calm and began to get a foothold in the game. Good passing from Lisa, Charlotte and Jessica began to provide our forwards with space in the King’s half. A penalty corner was won and Carly struck a fierce shot for our equaliser. The AKS girls attacked again and Jessie again found space in the D to score what proved to be the winner. Lisa had to defend superbly at sweeper and Daniella made some good saves on the odd occasion she was called into action.
Having won our opening two matches we had the luxury of winning our group with a game to spare. In the final group game against Pocklington, we changed the team around a bit with both Zara and Priyanka playing vital parts in helping us rest key players. In fact, Zara worked superbly to create our opening goal as she won a penalty corner. Jessie scored with a powerful shot to give us the lead. However, Pocklington fought back hard and scored two goals of their own for our first defeat.
Having won the group, we played the runners up in the other group who were Wakefield Girls High School. This was a truly superb performance from the AKS girls. We completely dominated the game from start to finish playing free flowing hockey using both sides of the pitch to great effect. Carly opened the scoring with a brilliant finish when one on one with the keeper. She added a second and the AKS goal-scoring machine Jessie completed the victory.
Spirits were high for the final against Scarborough College. We started off strongly and were able to take the lead with Jessie scoring yet again. Although we continued to play well Scarborough had a very strong defence and one quick and dynamic forward. They fought their way back in to the game with firstly an equaliser then another goal to take the lead. Daniella pulled off a couple of great saves to prevent any further goals and we were not going to give up easily. From a sumptuous cross from Carly, the keeper just managed to get to the ball before Jessie. This proved to be our last chance off the game and we ended as runners up.
Being the second best hockey team in the whole of the North of England is something to be extremely proud of. The support on the day was magnificent and the team deserve huge applause for a quite brilliant season. Miss DeMiranda and Miss Raby must also be thanked for their coaching and support on the day. In 37 games this season we have won 32 of them and only lost 3, scoring an amazing 163 goals and conceding only 14. Well done to all the girls involved in this team and best wishes for the rest of your hockey careers.