A CASE OF WHAT COULD’VE BEEN……
When the dust of disappointment settles for the girls they will realise that they have had another fantastic season. We set ourselves high standards at Magpies and the girls more than achieved that today so girls when you’ve stopped frowning (me included) give yourselves a big old pat on the back as the good ship total hockey development is definitely sailing in the right direction !
So we come to the In2hockey East regional finals having safely navigated the Norfolk Champs and a pool containing Sevenoaks, Hertford, Old Loughtonians, Ipswich and Cambridge City. First up were Sevenoaks who proved to be a mightily strong side and it was backs to the wall stuff as we went down 3-0 with a string of great saves from Georgia. They were the eventual winners of the competition and played extremely well all day so good to get them out of the way early.
Up next were Hertford who we’d lost to in the East U10 final two years earlier so a chance to set the record straight but a scrappy early goal saw us 1-0 down. Oh no I hear you say but we kept our composure and more importantly shape and drew level early in the second half. A winner soon came and with some composure the girls saw out the win. I have an admission of guilt in that I’ve got three names down in my black book for two goals and for the life of me I can’t remember who scored in which order so Holly, Anna and Emma you can have two thirds of a goal each or I’m sure two of you can correct me!
With Hereford vanquished up next were back to back games against Old Loughtonians and Ipswich and I’m pleased to report that in these two we played as we can and should and recorded two fine victories 3-0 and 4-0 respectively. When we are confident and keep our shape and make the ball do the work we are a very effective side and a delight to watch so extremely well done to the girls in these two games with a goal each for Sophie, Emma, Evie and Anna and three for hotshot Holly !
We then had an hour and a half break before our final pool game against Cambridge City and after a detailed look at the table with Fi Brice to do the maths we established that a draw would’ve been good enough to take second place in the group by virtue of goals scored as Cambridge had also won three and lost one. With Fi sworn to secrecy we kept this to ourselves and with the girls fed and watered we played our final group game with victory assuring us of a semi final berth. I think it was our best performance of the day and the girls really got stuck in with the tackling and also kept the width which was testing Cambridge on both flanks. Mid way through the first half a foot in the D and a short corner. Smooth text book flat injection from Evie, composed gather from Anna and then a straight strike smash into the back board, 1-0 Magpies. Then on the stroke of half time came the moment of controversy and the awarding of a flick to Cambridge. A clean break down the right for Cambridge and cue alarm bells. Georgia makes the courageous and correct decision to come sliding out to challenge the Cambridge player and gets a toe to ball and it goes off the back line. Long corner we think but no, the Umpire calls for a flick perhaps swayed by the positivity of Georgia’s advance and the hurdling of the Cambridge player which most felt was extremely harsh (including the Cambridge coach so thank you to him). So it came to it with Georgia on the line, teeth bared and Cambridge ready to go. Parp went the whistle and off went the flick towards the bottom left but down went Georgia superbly to turn the ball onto the post and away from danger. A moment to be proud of for Georgia so well done. That invigorated the team and the second half was more or less controlled by Magpies with the odd chance from Cambridge on the break but we held on for a deserved win and a spot in the semi final.
So came the semi final against pool A winners Canterbury and a place in the national finals to play for. It wasn’t a great game and both sides were tired and running with the ball took over a bit too much and not the fluid style that we can play. A scrappy goal from a cruel deflection off a Magpies stick that looped over Georgia was all that separated the two sides and we huffed and puffed but couldn’t quite find a chance to save the game and so it ended there…….
It has been yet another tremendous season for this group of girls with multiple tournament wins, goals galore, qualification for the East Finals, progression through to the semi finals where on goal difference we would’ve been placed third overall with the consolation of being the best placed Norfolk team. Everyone in the squad played their part on what was a hot and tiring day. Goals and great deeds often claim the headlines but everyone worked tirelessly in a genuine squad effort so also a massive well done to Alyssa,Molly, Jessica and Ruby as well. Many thanks to Duncan for his council and support on the sideline.
I will echo what Kathy Gardens wrote in her report for the U10 girls that it was so good to see so many parents, friends and supporters there cheering on the girls and epitomises what our club is all about with particular mention to David Brook who came along to advise and observe in his normal guru type fashion.
COME ON YOU MAGPIES !
Squad – Ruby (c), Georgia (GK), Jessica, Molly, Holly, Alyssa, Anna, Sophie, Evie, Emma
TM – Jim Menzies