On Sunday the 3rd of Dec five Club teams contested the NW round of the England U18 Girls Indoor Hockey Cup at Brooksbank School Sports Centre at Elland near Halifax.
Given the weather snowy weather with cars trapped in Cumbria, the Tournament Director left very early to report on the route to Halifax before teams left home. The weather was clearing west to east so we were glad to be able to go ahead.
This tournament saw the big city clubs facing north Lancashire’s smaller;- relative new comers, Garstang and Preston. It was dominated by Bowdon with a very able squad that included two England U18 squad members and a 1st team player. Preston and Timperley were the only teams to come anywhere near Bowdon and Preston finished a very creditable 2nd despite being beaten by local rivals Garstang.
The first game saw Deeside beat Timperley 4 – 1 with a hat trick by Timperley’s Chloe Roberts. Timperley’s Freya Diamond got a late goal to ease their feelings.
The second game saw Bowdon score early with an early goal by Katie Alexander but Preston struck back three minutes later with a goal by 14-year-old Martha McAulay. Bowdon piled the pressure on Preston and goals by Priya Kerfoot after 5 mins and Emily Hunt late in the second half saw them ease home, despite gallant efforts by Preston with their thirteen-year-old Keeper Emily Byers showing why she was recently selected for the U13 England Lions Squad.
Next Garstang took on Deeside as their U18 debut match. After 5 mins Garstang’s Gracie Sutton scored across the Keeper. Garstang then gained a 2-0 first half lead when Louisa Proctor scored after 10 mins at a penalty corner.
Deeside came back hard in the second half to run away 5-2 winners with goals by Chloe Roberts (2) and Juliet Gordon following on with a hat-trick.
Next up saw the big battalions of Timperley and Bowdon go head-to-head. After a goal less first half Bowdon scored in the second half through Priya Kerfoot a minute in and then Timperley’s Kate Lane equalised after 16 mins. Bowdon were however not to be denied and late goals by Sophie Neary and Emily Hunt saw a deserved 3-1 win for them.
The fifth game was an epic battle between local rivals Garstang and Preston. Garstang got off to a great start after only a minute when Gracie Sutton scored at a penalty corner. Scarlett Knight added a second after 4 mins.
Preston struck back a minute later through Abigail Stangroom and then Louisa Proctor scored two in two minutes to make it 4-1 at half time.
Preston then went in to full attack mode early in the second half and Katie Rimmer scored at a penalty corner. Garstang’s Gracie Sutton made it 5-2 a minute later at another corner. Preston then held the advantage but Garstang defended well. In the last three minutes Preston’s Martha McAulay scored at a penalty corner and then Phoebe Bolton at yet another corner to make it a tight 5-4 win for Garstang whose players had gone all out to win.
Having adjusted their sights Bowdon then nearly decimated Deeside despite their brave defensive efforts. Bowdon scored at a corner after 5 mins through Sophie Neary then a minute later Lucy Pearce scored a field goal and literally seconds later Priya Kerfoot scored. Katie Alexander scored twice and Priya got her second goal after 10 mins. In the second half Katie took her game total to 4 in the 13th and 15TH mins. Bowdon came home 8-0 winners.
Preston then played Timperley in a well-balanced game. Timperley’s Hannah Simms scored a minute in to the game. Preston equalised at a corner five mins later through Martha McAulay to make it 1-1 at half time. Preston then took a 2-1 lead after 12 mins through Abigail Stangroom. Timperley’s Hannah Simms stuck back two minutes later to make it even scores at 2-2. Preston’s pressure told and they won a series of late corners with Kate Rimmer and Martha McAulay scoring late to take the lead and to win 4-2. Timperley were down to four players for the last two minutes having collected two yellow cards after Kate’s goal.
Bowdon then played Garstang who held the avalanche at bay for the first 6 mins before Katie Alexander scored. After 8 mins Priya Kerfoot scored at a corner and then another a minute later. In the second half an imperious Katie Alexander scored another five goals concluding with a penalty flick to end matters 8-0. Garstang had expended enormous effort to beat Preston and are a young side who will come back next year following this debut.
Preston played their final game against Deeside. Preston scored steadily in the first half in open play with goals from Katie Rimmer, Martha McAulay. Katie got her second goal 3 mins in to the second half and Preston led 3-0. In the last three minutes Deeside stormed back with goals from Chloe Roberts and Juliet Gordon and thought they a late equaliser but the umpire disallowed the goal leaving Preston 3-2 winners.
The final game saw Garstang play Timperley. The first half nearly all Timperley’s way with Freya Diamond collecting a hat trick from a penalty stroke and two field goals. However, Garstang’s Louisa Proctor followed Freya’s second goal with a good shot to make it 3-1 to Timperley at half time. Timperley’s Kate Lane made it 4-1 a minute in to the second half. Hannah Simms scored after 4 mins in to the half for a 5-1 lead. Garstang then pressed hard for the rest of the half but were only rewarded when Gracie Sutton scored with a minute to go. 5-2 for Timperley.
The snow started up again about half an hour before the end of play so we all scuttled home with care to get over the high portion of the M62.
An exemplary performance by Bowdon with Katie Alexander the top scorer with 11 goals. Bowden’s Priya Kerfoot and Deeside’s Chloe Roberts were second on 6 each.
This was an excellent tournament that was played in the right spirit and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Big thanks to our umpires who turned out in strength and to our hosts Brooksbank School.
Good luck to Bowdon in the next round representing the North West.