Hawks U14 Girls met Buckingham for their final pool match in Tier 1 of the England Hockey Championship. Despite plenty of early pressure from Hawks, it was Buckingham who scored first, Cora unlucky not to keep a clean sheet. The girls rallied, however, Siena effectively turning defence into attack, feeding the ball up to Izzy and Flora. Shortly before half-time, the renewed pressure paid off when Rowena equalised with a shot from a ridiculously narrow angle that snuck in past the post.
At half-time, a stirring team talk from Lisa worked wonders, along with some astute tactical second half changes. The defence was strengthened by the combined force of Amelia, Tanya and Jessica. Rowena moved to centre-mid and Poppy and Chloe were released up front. The fluidity of the girls’ play increased as they settled into the match. Imogen used her pace very effectively on the left wing while Georgia, hanging high, showed good control spinning on the ball to drive on goal and was unlucky not to score. Nicola had a number of storming runs down the right that ended in shots on goal, but the Buckingham keeper was able to save comfortably on the near post. It was Chloe who scored the second goal – an amazing strike from a position that was practically on the back line. Confidence rising, Hawks got into their stride, winning a succession of short corners which Buckingham defended well. Alexia and Isabel linked well, while Holly demonstrated some tidy passing in midfield. Rowena sealed the match with a solo run from the half-way line, eliminating several Buckingham defenders before she struck home on the backhand with Danson-esque style.
The final tally for the U14s after matches against Buckingham, Oxford, Wallingford and Witney, is P4 W4 GF21 GA2, finishing top of the table in Midlands League 2. Good luck to the girls in the Tier 2 regional finals on 19th April.
Team: Cora (GK), Amelia L, Jessica M-W, Isabel G, Poppy W (Captain), Nicola G, Chloe S, Siena R, Tanya S, Imogen J, Rowena H, Izzy S, Georgia L, Holly S, Flora W, Alexia Z
Goal scorers: Rowena (2), Chloe (1)