AKS U14 hockey team represented Lancashire in the North West Hockey Finals and just missed out on qualifying for the North Finals finishing in a very close third place. The AKS squad consisting of players from Year 9,8 &7 played superbly and learnt a great deal from the experience of playing in the Regional finals.
The first game was against a strong and skilful Altrincham Grammar School. We started slowly and allowed Altrincham to enjoy the lion’s share of possession and we were grateful to see a number of their shots fly wide of the goal and despite being under pressure for most of the half we went into the break level at 0 – 0. The second half went the way of the first with Altrincham attacking at pace but more great defending from Beth R, Alicia I, Charlotte T, Gabriella F and Eleanor L together with some great saves from Eva E in goal kept the ball out of the net and with time ticking by the score remained at 0 – 0. In the last couple of minutes Altrincham threw everything at us but we defended for our lives and great penalty corner defence saw us thwart all their efforts. With the game destined for a draw and 30seconds remaining the deadlock was broken when Altrincham won back possession and managed to force the ball over the line on their third attempt to win 1 – 0.
With everything still to play for we started the second game against Merchant Taylors superbly and got off to the perfect start with a goal in the third minute from Ziv W after good build up play from Laura K and Lucy B. Two quick goals from Katie T lurking on the left post saw us take control of the game and with Ziv W getting her second of the game, after a great cross from Carley W , we went into the break 4 – 0 ahead. We continued to dominate in the second half playing some superb passing hockey and two goals from Prisha R made the final score 6 – 0.
Lifted by the win we went into our third game against tournament favourites Kings Macclesfield in good spirits and we started superbly putting Kings under pressure , attacking with pace and getting the ball into our attacking circle but Kings defended well to clear their lines to keep the ball out. We did get reward for our great start when Charlotte T passed to Prisha R who used her pace to drive forwards and when her pass found Ziv W in the circle she made no mistake in finding the corner of the goal to make it 1 – 0 at the break. The second half saw Kings up their game and they started to dominate at possession and put us under pressure. We defended several corners well and everyone worked hard but eventually Kings did get reward for their improved play and possession when they scored late in the game to make it 1 – 1.
With the final tournament positions still in the balance we went into the final game against Austin Friars knowing a win would give us a chance of a place in the North Finals. We again started well and attacked from the start winning several attacking corners in the first 10 minutes but could not convert. We did take the lead in the 12th minute when a great cross from Ziv W found Katie T on the left post and she again found the net to make it 1 -0. Austin Friars always posed a threat of their own and some slack defending allowed them to draw level before the break. In the second half we again dominated possession with Lucy B, Laura K, Olivia M and Freya W linking our defence and attack well and we went into the lead again when Prisha R found the net with a reverse shot to make it 2 – 1. Austin Friars, however continued to attack at pace and they drew level again minutes later. With time running out we pushed everyone forwards and thought we had snatched a win when we did get the ball into the net but unfortunately the ball had hit a foot and it was ruled out and we had to settle for a win and 3rd place behind Kings Macclesfield and Altrincham.
Despite not progressing into the North Finals this very young squad can take great pride in how well they played and the progress they made during the tournament and now look forward to the remaining school fixtures.