PUBLISHED 22 March 2022
At the end of a very busy and successful season the U13 team represented Lancashire in the In2Hockey North West Finals with the ultimate prize being a place in the National Finals in May.
We started the day well dominating possession in our first game against King William College from the IOM but we could not find the net and at half time the scores remained level. After the break we continued to pass the ball well and finally got reward for our efforts when Charlotte L scored with a fantastic shot into the roof of the net which gave the keeper no chance. Lifted by the goal we continued to press and an individual goal from Anna V secured the win 2 – 0 and we had our first points on the board.
Our second game saw us against Sedbergh School . In an even first half both teams had chances to score but great defending by Sophia M , Esther T and saves from Sophie S maintained our clean sheet and at the break the score was 0 – 0. After the break we got our noses infront when Amelia H scored with a superb strike from the top of the circle and she sealed the win with her second goal from a well worked corner routine before the final whistle.
With two wins under our belt we went into what we knew would be the deciding match against a strong Manchester High School team. Manchester started quickly and went ahead in the first 5 minutes. A lucky deflection saw the ball loop into the circle and a Manchester forward was quickest to respond and slot the ball past a stranded Sophie S in goal. Going behind put us on the back foot and we had to dig deep and work hard to mark the lively Manchester forwards and the scores remained 1 – 0 at the break. We started the second half well with Amelia H dangerous in the middle of the pitch and Anna V a threat down the right but our final pass into the circle was cut out by the solid Manchester defence. The Manchester players moved well off the ball and attacked at pace down their right to put us under pressure and one such attack saw a pass find a free player infront of goal and she made no mistake in finding the net to take Manchester into a two goal lead. Undeterred we continued to push hard and late in the game Anna V scored a superb individual goal but this proved just to be a consolation as the final whistle blew and the score was 1 – 2.
Determined to finish the tournament on a winning note we went into the final game against Kings School , Macclesfield in positive mood and started well. Great play at the back saw Esther T switch play well and Lucy Whiteside drove well down the right to put Kings under pressure. We deservedly took the lead with a great strike from Anna V. Amelia H battled well in the middle of the pitch against the feisty Kings players and won a corner just before the break. Another well worked routine saw a great strike from Amelia H find Lucy W in a perfect position on the left post and she made no mistake in slotting the ball home to take us into half time with the score 2 – 0.
After the break play got very scrappy with both teams fighting hard for possession and we struggled to keep possession or get any patterns in our play. Kings scored the only goal of the half to make the final score a 2 – 1 AKS victory and with 3 wins we secured runners-up spot behind Manchester High School.
Overall , although just missing out on top spot and a place in the National Finals by just one goal , all the squad put in a superb effort and played some excellent hockey to finish what has been a fantastic season in which they have reached the last 8 of the National Independent schools Cup, been crowned Lancashire Champions and now finished as North West Runners-Up. A great achievement!!