Blessed with some warm sunshine instead of the chilly wind and rain to which we have become accustomed, a bag full of Harribos and a sense of real determination right from the start, the Guildford Flames did themselves proud. They scored 18 goals and conceded just one and played some of their best hockey of the season...
The Plate competition consisted of 32 teams from across Surrey split into 8 pools with Guildford Flames drawn in pool 6. They were up against Tulse Hill & Dulwich’s only entry, one of Surbiton’s many (each pool had a Surbiton team in it) and Spencer’s first selected Plate team.
Round 1 - two wins and a draw
Guildford went out strong at the outset and earnt themselves a place as ‘winners’ on goal difference in the next qualifying round, beating Tulse Hill 2-0, Surbiton 4-0 and a goalless draw against a strong Spencer side.
Round 2 - win
In the next round they played Woking, runners up in pool 7. Despite conceding their only goal of the tournament during this game, but to be fair to the opposition, it was a great goal! Guildford dominated the game and came away with a 3-1 win.
Quarter Finals - win on golden goal
This put them through to the quarter finals against Dragons' first team, not as strong as the Spencer team they had played in the earlier round, but we seemed to have collapsed a bit, our passing, our shape, positioning, then an injury to Alice (CM) which rattled the team’s confidence and they were starting to panic, making silly mistakes, but they hung in there and the whistle blew. The match then went to extra time and golden goal. Fearing penalty flicks were upon us, then Guildford were awarded a short corner, first attempt was defended, then Alice, back on the pitch after her injury, kept the ball in the D and slapped it into the goal, squeals of delight from the girls, a huge sigh of relief from the coaches and through to the semi-finals.
Semi-Final - win
A team chat, more sweets and the prospect of a medal saw them return to form after their off game against Dragons. We saw some great team play, resulting in a 5-0 win against Spencer and a place in the final.
Final - win!
Exuding confidence and yet Guildford started the final appearing to be half asleep, they couldn’t afford to be, the Surbiton Robins looked strong and they were all over the Flames. For the first couple of minutes Guildford seemed drained of the fighting spirit we had seen in previous games and just when we were looking worried from the side-lines, Ruby scored.
This lit the fuse and the Flames were on fire. It was an exciting match, many great shots at goal by both sides; fortunately Ila was on amazing form and saved every one, supported by Sienna and Rosalie in defence who were there each time picking up the deflection and using the ball effectively, clearing it to our mids, or driving with the ball themselves out of our 25. We held our shape, we had skill on the ball and some useful, strong accurate passing, saw two more goals for Guildford. 3-0 win and gold for the Flames.
A very enjoyable day of hockey for all, great support from the parents and coaches on the side lines, which kept the girls going. They had to fight hard and their work rate and determination was commendable. Top goal scorers were Ella and Fleur, but it was great team hockey and good performances from all the girls.
Congratulations and well done to Ila, Sienna, Rosalie, Alice, Ella, Fleur, Satine, Georgia and Ruby.