Our U14 girls travelled to Lee Valley for the Nationals for the second season running after an impressive qualification from regionals where they beat ISCA, Cirencester and Oxford Hawks to top their group.
Full of excitement and optimism, they were placed in a pool with Sevenoaks, Harleston Magpies and Repton, needing to top the group to qualify for the 1st / 2nd place game, or come second to enter the 3rd / 4th shootout to claim a medal.
First up were Sevenoaks and what turned out to be the toughest of opponents, a previous finalist. Despite best efforts, the girls lost 3-0 and the challenge was now on to grab that 2nd pool spot and go for 3rd place. As it turns out, Sevenoaks were to go on to the final and narrowly lose out to Surbiton.
Next up was Harleston Magpies, and knowing that only a win was really good enough, the girls channelled that determination and battled for a 1-0 win to keep their hopes alive. Then came Repton, a name with a great hockey reputation and the same outcome required. Yet another close battle and the same score line, most importantly getting the girls into that medal match to play Marlow.
It was in this game that the experience of 6 of the team who had been in the same situation last season really came to the fore. The girls had saved their best hockey for this match, coming out victorious with a 2-0 score line and a very happy journey home with their medals.
Big congratulations to the girls and also the coaching team of Jackie Lawrence and Zoe Leach, getting the very best out of the players once more.