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U16 Girls tie for second place at EH Regionals

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Kara’s “wee ladies” had the combined pleasure of a road trip and Travelodge pre-tournament team bonding on 11th/12th March, as they competed in the England Hockey U16s Tier 2 Regionals against Stourport, Saffron Walden and Harleston Magpies.  First up were hosts Stourport (a club Hawks L1s know well), whose U16s reached the Nationals last season.  Although the Hawks defence held firm for the first 10 minutes, the girls were 0-3 down by half-time as a result of quality play by Stourport’s numerous England and Wales junior internationals.  The final score was 0-6, but there were positives to be taken from it, including Cora’s magnificent, full-stretch PF save midway through the second half – and, encouragingly, the match ended with Hawks on the attack.

Next up was Saffron Walden.  The Hawks girls swiftly overcame the disappointment of their first match and began to show signs of the form that had seen them progress from Tier 1 with 4 wins from 5 and a goal difference of 19.  After some early Hawks power play, Holly (perfectly positioned on the post) put the U16s ahead and the travelling supporters instantly became more cheerful.  This was closely followed by a similarly crafted goal from Maddie, Poppy getting the assist after a strong solo run and shot.  Unfortunately, the 2-0 lead was eliminated within the space of 3 minutes as a resurgent Saffron Walden started the second half with two goals.  Siena came to the rescue, though, manufacturing a scoring opportunity after a jinking drive into the D, her backhand strike being used to great effect.  3-2 to Hawks the final score and smiles all round.

With Stourport rampant in all their matches, our final game against Harleston Magpies became the decider for second place.  Hawks were fully revved up for this one and played their best hockey of the tournament, with some awesome passing moves and committed running off the ball.  Just reward came when Holly scored her second of the day, slotting the ball between keeper and post from an extraordinarily tight angle.  Magpies came back in the second half, winning a penalty corner; their shot was blocked by Row on the line, but at the expense of a PF, which was well taken to level the score at 1-1.  With much of the possession for the rest of the match and winning a succession of penalty corners, Hawks were tantalisingly close to victory, but a determined Magpies defence ensured it remained 1-1 at full time.  A hugely positive match to end the season with.

Many thanks to Scraggy for umpiring, Dizzy for coaching and to all our dedicated travelling supporters.  Well done to the whole team, who will have learnt much from the experience, and many of whom will still be in our U16s next season:  Amelia Thomas, Chloe Scragg (c), Cora Browne-Clayton, Georgie Flynn, Holly Senior, Imogen Joyce, Izzy Gibson, Jessica Madden-Waite, Lexi Newall, Lizzie Neal, Maddie Dale, Poppy Webb, Row Hearn and Siena Robbins.

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