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As we gathered on an extremely sunny day in Nottingham we were all looking very smart in our tournament tops sponsored by Mr Cricket Hockey and Meliora Asset Management.
We have always started our tournaments slowly, and normally we hope to meet the stronger teams later in the tournament once we have found our rhythm. At both the regionals and the nationals we met the strongest team we would play all day in the first game, in this case Surbiton. In a hard fought game with great skill, and great hockey on show we lost 2-1 with Surbiton’s best player conjuring a stunning solo goal from a short corner in the last minute after Emily had scored a cracker for us in the first half. We felt hard done by, particularly with Liv taking a ball to the jaw (if you have seen the bruise, you know how tough she is), and having to go off the pitch. This minor defensive instability was the difference.
We now needed to pick ourselves up quickly for Morpeth. We contrived to concede in the first 30 seconds of the next game. Luckily this seemed to really annoy Emily and Vi in particular and working together they responded immediately to level, and then with Ellie and Bea they proceeded to systematically dismantle the opposition scoring 5 unanswered goals to win the game 5-1 (Vi x2, Emily, Bea and Aggy the scorers). We then needed to beat Fylde and hope that Surbiton didn’t beat Morpeth. We went out and in an overly physical game overcame them with a stunning individual goal from Bea G who seems to be both surprised and embarrassed by how good she is already, and how much better she can be. Unfortunately Surbiton won which meant we were playing in the 3rd/4th placed play off.
Beeston were a strong and well drilled team playing at home, but gradually we got on top and we were unlucky not to score on various occasions. Esther W had an absolute stormer of a game, and her performance meant Beeston only really had 1 chance, which was a routine save for Esther G. Ellie decided it was time to score and stepped up at a short corner to hit the ball as hard and true as you will ever see into the bottom corner. The girls then put their bodies on the line, Molly working really hard in and out of possession but particularly Maggie closing down the opposition tirelessly in their own half. The girls had done it, they got 3rd.
A huge thank you to the girls - Esther G, Ellie, Emily, Aggy, Bea, Esther W, Vi, Liv & Maggie - and what an amazing group of players you have been. You have conducted yourselves with grace, sportspersonship, and humour, you have been a credit to yourselves and the club, winning friends wherever you have been for your conduct as well as your hockey. You have played some brilliant stuff, controlled games and shown grit and determination when required. I could not be more proud and pleased that you got some silverwear at the end of this particular journey. Well done.
A thank you to the parents too, you were positive, you were supportive, you added fun, humour and no little noise and colour to the day. Everything a ‘barmy army’ should be. Thank you.
Thanks to our sponsors Artificial Grass Cambridge, Mr Cricket Hockey, Meliora Asset Management, Polytech Health and Greyscale Consultancy for the very smart tracksuit tops.
Lastly thanks to Anne-Marie for your guidance, talent and fierce support of the girls, and Vanessa for your hard work, organisation and patience over the weeks leading up to and on the day, was that a tear at the end?