HARLESTON MAGPIES U16 GIRLS AT REGIONAL FINALS AT LEICESTER
Harleston Magpies U16 Girls travelled to Leicester to play in Pool A of the Midlands Regional finals against Cambridge City, Worcester and Leicester City, where only the winner goes through to the National Finals.
In the opening match against Cambridge City both teams struggled initially to deal with the sticky pitch and Magpies conceded an early goal from a poorly defended penalty corner. From then on Magpies had to work very hard to get back in the match despite having a lot of pressure and opportunities including a penalty flick. Finally Tor Findlay and Lauren Rowe provided the vital goals to make sure Magpies came out as winners 2-1.
The next match against Leicester was always going to be the crunch match. This time the match was played on the water based pitch which provided for a much better match. In the early stages the Leicester forwards troubled the Magpies defence with their pace and movement, but gradually Magpies had the measure of them, so it was disappointing when Leicester opened the scoring.
Magpies responded well in the second half and Abby Gooderham levelled the scores from a penalty corner with a terrific flick into the roof of the net. Magpies were in the ascendancy and they had a terrific chance from close range to score the winner, but it was not to be. Magpies finished the stronger team and felt they should have won based on their second half performance.
With one game to go Leicester had a superior goal difference of two, but Magpies had the easier match to play against Worcester whereas Leicester had to play Cambridge City.
Both matches were played at the same time as the goal differences between the teams continued to fluctuate. Magpies could do no more than be 6-0 up at half time. They went for more goals in the second half and were soon 8-0 up thanks to an astonishing 7 goals from Abby Gooderham and one from Lottie Summers. At this point the Tournament Director stopped the match in line with England Hockey’s bizarre rule for a Tier 2 competition whereby you cannot win a match by more than 8-0!
Magpies had pinned their hopes on Cambridge City putting up more of a fight, but they crumbled to an 8-0 defeat as well. This was a disappointing way to finish the Regional Finals with many bemused supporters trying to understand the rules, but in the end Magpies missed chances in the first two matches proved to be the decider, in what was in a reality a two match Tournament.
Squad: Abby Gooderham (Capt), Holly Riches, Olivia Locke, Sophie Child, Molly Redgrove, Martha Lawrence, Rose Winter, Lauren Rowe, Anna Tighe, Amelia Preece, Alice Woollatt, Mia King, Lottie Summers and Tor Findlay.