U14 Girls – All Aboard The National Express

With the Nest bathed in glorious sunshine we welcomed Spencer HC, Amersham & Chalfont HC and Southgate HC for a regional final and a chance for the U14 girls to compete for a spot in the national finals. Up first were Spencer HC and to their credit they started more fluently than Magpies and retained possession well albeit mostly in their own half. The girls then seemed to throw off the nervous shackles and got into the game. They opened the scoring when a goal bound shot was stopped on the line by a foot and was awarded initially as a shortie, but was then overturned in an umpire consultation and calmly dispatched by Emma W into the bottom left. Emma W then added another quite quickly to send us into HT 2-0 to the good. Hollie D-R then scored quite soon after the break and Magpies saw out the rest of the game to secure our first points of the day.

Up next were Amersham & Chalfont and again we were slow out of the blocks (too much cake between games maybe) and were punished at the back when not clearing effectively and a dribbly dribbler went over the line (just) to leave us 0-1. My brow was furrowed at bit at that but to their huge credit they went up the other end and smashed in three goals in four minutes to turn the game on its head. First another short corner melee with a deflected shot being cleared dangerously that lead to another flick for Emma W to tuck away, then she scored another with Hollie D-R smashing the backboard to make it 3-1 at HT. No more goals in the second half but no real danger from Amersham and we were able to see out the game comfortably. A brief look at the table told us that a draw and even a 2-0 loss would’ve been good enough but that was never the plan as we lined up against Southgate HC for our final fixture. Thankfully we did start this game much more positively and soon found ourselves 2-0 up with another lovely goal from Emma W and a smart centre forward’s finish from Ella S who ran her socks off all day and deserved her goal. We then faced a series of short corners as Southgate upped their game but the girls defend so bravely and kept them at bay. With half time approaching Alicia P scored a proper poacher’s back post deflection that roofed nicely following a pacy delivery from outside the D to leave us 3-0 up at HT. The second half saw the girls play some really good relaxed and confident hockey with some great interplay but no more goals, not for the lack of trying. We conceded a flick that was scored in the last minute but by then the damage was well and truly done and cue the delight from the girls at the final whistle.

Goal scorers often get the headlines so well done to Emma W (5), Hollie D-R (2), Ella S (1) and Alicia (1) but I will point out with satisfaction that this was a genuine all squad display with everyone playing their part and contributing. Loads of effort all round the park so a huge well done to the girls on reaching the U14 Tier 1 National Finals on May 12th.

Squad :- Sophie P (c), Abi L (GK), Georgia F (GK), Ruby P, Talitha K, Evie B, Anna C, Jessica M, Emma W, Holly W, Ella S, Hollie D-R, Loulou F, Alicia P, Jessica T