The Magpies under-12 Girls team proved themselves capable of rivalling the very best teams in the Country rounding off a decent day’s competition with a 5 – 0 victory over Yeovil to secure 5th place at the national hockey play-offs finals at Nottingham over the weekend.
The team qualified for the national play-offs as runners-up in the regional round of the completion, having previously earned the Norfolk County Championship.
Magpies started brightly winning their first pool match against Thirsk from behind after conceding an early goal. They created plenty of pressure, racking up nine short corners with Evie Brice and then Amy Hunt slotting away their chances for a 2 – 1 win.
The second match was a scrappy affair against the West regional champions Clifton Robinsons with no clear chances in the first half. Magpies applied plenty of pressure through Captain Anna Cogdell in midfield whilst the bulwark defence of Harriet Soper and Alicia Pryce dealt with the Clifton attack. Unfortunately, early second-half Clifton scrambled a goal which enabled them to get every player behind the ball for the remainder of the match to hand Magpies a 0 – 1 defeat.
Magpies conceded early in their third pool game to a cross and tap-in by the Rugby & East Warwickshire forward. They were then faced with similar tactics of a massed defence. A strong drive into the D by Cogdell drew four defensive players to her but she slipped a clever ball to Brice who one-on-one with the keeper finished confidently levelling the match. Further chances fell to the Magpies forwards but each time they hit the keeper rather than the backboard and the game ended in a 1 – 1 draw.
Magpies gave the eventual national champions Surbiton a very early scare with Hunt drawing a great save from their keeper in the opening minute. Georgia Flatt was in equally good form in the Magpie’s goal saving numerous shots from the clever, rapid Surbiton forwards. Eventually Magpie’s conceded two goals, before substitute Tilly Dodds strengthened the back line and effectively blunted the Surbiton attack but the damage was done and Magpies went down 0 – 2.
After the pressure of the pool games Magpies saved their best for last, brushing aside Yeovil in the 5th / 6th play-off game. Cogdell scored with a superb back-hand shot from a narrow angle before Beth Gardens first drew the defenders and then slipped the ball to Hunt for a tap in. Cogdell found the backboard again before Magpies switched the team around with all the younger players on the pitch. Gardens in the middle set up some great runs down each wing by Nathalie Saunders and Emily Clarke feeding Hunt in the centre for a further two goals to reach her hat-trick. Magpies finishing 5th best in the Country and with half the team remaining in this age group there is every reason to think that they’ll challenge strongly again next year.
Full Squad: Evie Brice, Emily Clarke, Anna Cogdell (C), Tilly Dodds, Georgia Flatt (GK), Beth Gardens, Amy Hunt, Alicia Pryce, Nathalie Saunders Harriet Soper