On a record breaking Bank holiday weekend of BOILING weather the U10 girls were super excited about the challenge of competing at the South Finals last Sunday...
Having won the Surrey Cup and the Canterbury Festival, we knew we had the ability to play well after a good season so far. As it turned out it was a tough day with strong teams from all across the South region including 4 from Surrey, 3 of these making the semi-finals and teams like Reading providing great competition.
Game 1 v Wallingford (1-0 win)
The girls started brightly and passed the ball well. Martha R finished calmly after some great work in midfield by Eliza, Isla and Martha M. Rosie and Holly were solid at the back and we rotate the subs on with Hannah and Poppy adding some energy mid-way through the game. We had all the ball and couldn’t quite finish our chances but were comfortable in possession and all the girls worked hard. 1-0 win and a solid start. Grace in goal wasn’t testedbut had to stay alert in the hot conditions.
Game 2 v Lewes (2-0 win)
Next game saw a decent effort against Lewes and 2-0 win, I think Poppy and Martha scored and lots of good passing and a decent effort. Again we missed a few chances but we created a lot and always looked threatening going forward. Jemima came on at the back and again we rotated the bench to rest the girls in the very trying conditions. 2 games down and 2 solid performances.
Game 3 v Wayfarers (0-1 loss)
The final group game saw a close battle between 2 teams. We had the majority of the possession and forced a series of saves from the Wayfarers goalie. But she managed to keep our attack out and we conceded after a long ball found their centre forward in our half. A slip at the back meant the centre forward had a free path to goal and she did well to score. We upped the tempo and kept on creating chances but couldn’t quite score. The girls were a bit disappointed but it was a good wake up call for the team and we still qualified 2nd in the group to play Reading in the quarter finals.
Game 4 - Quarterfinal v Reading (0-0 draw, won on penalty flicks)
After the shock of the loss in the prior game the girls knew we had to bring our ‘A game’ against Reading. We started brightly and played some of the best hockey of the day. Lots of passing from Holly/Rosie at the back and midfield running from Eliza, Hannah, Martha M and Rosie/Poppy up front.
At full time it was a draw but we must have had 5 very close chances we couldn’t quite finish. But a great effort and we went on to strokes. Always a harsh way to finish a game but some great saves by Grace and a couple of good strokes by Rosie and Eliza saw us home. To quote the Reading coach “you deserved to win that in normal time, well played and good luck”. A good game and an improvement from the group games.
Game 5 - Semi-final v Dragons (win)
Having already had 4 games in very hot conditions we changed personnel and rotated the players with Jemima and Holly at the back forming a solid partnership and pushing Rosie into centre half. The whole squad worked hard and supported each other in attack and defence. Again we played well and against the Surrey finalist Dragons we knew we had to be at our best.
We started at a swift pace and Martha M passed the ball to the far post for Martha to score. We kept the ball well and lots of short sharp passing meant we had plenty of chances. The defence was rock solid and kept the Dragons at bay. We rotated on a regular basis and Grace was solid at the back and we did well to come through and win a place in the final.
Game 6 - Final v Surbiton (0-0 draw, lost on penalty flicks)
The final saw us face a strong Surbiton team who we had beaten before but were a fit and fast team and a great challenge for the girls to face. After 5 games and a massive amount of running in hot conditions I was so pleased how the girls responded.
Holly and Jemima were solid at the back and barely let Surbiton in the D. Their tackling was excellent and from the front the whole team hussled in defence and put Surbiton under pressure. Rosie/Eliza/Hannah/Isla and Martha M all worked well in midfield and created chances for Martha R and Poppy up front.
As a team we had more chances in the D and one shot went just wide and another was stopped on the line just as a goal appeared to be scored. A really great game between 2 top teams. Unfortunately we couldn't quite get the break and we went to strokes. Eliza/Isla and Rosie did super well and Grace was great in goal. We went to the 4th and 5th strokes for both teams and we missed and Surbiton converted theirs. But a top game and an excellent day to show the team spirit shown this season.
All in all a good competitive day for the whole squad. The U10s have a lot of potential having won both the Surrey Cup and Plate and the Canterbury Festival. Coming second 2nd in the South is a great effort. We have loads of very keen girls (80+) and several competitive teams and our strength in depth was shown by us winning the Surrey Plate as well. On Sunday we only conceded one goal all day and showed real spirit as a squad. Also well done for the mighty u10 boys for winning gold!! What a great day for the club and the age group.
Super proud of the whole age group and very thankful for all the work put in by the girls and the support and coaching team including Katie, Saskia, Libby and Geoff.
Enjoy the summer and see you at a hockey pitch soon!!
Coaches – James & Katie
Squad – Grace (GK), Holly, Rosie, Jemima, Eliza, Martha M, Hannah, Isla,