Our U11 teams at the North of England Finals 2017
Both the AKS boys and girls’ U11 hockey teams travelled to Leeds University for the North of England Finals. To get two teams to this stage of the competition is a remarkable achievement for a school the size of ours. The majority of schools at the tournament were much bigger than AKS. Having qualified only a few weeks ago both teams were looking forward to an experience of competing against the strongest hockey teams in the North of the country.
The girls were in an extremely tough group. Their first game was against St Olaves School from York. We started brightly and chances were created for Jessie and Lucy but we could not beat their keeper. Although we had more of the play, St Olaves scored two well taken goals and we lost the game 2-0. In our next match we came up against Hill House who we had beaten in the North West round. We played some good attacking hockey again and Jessie was well set up by Carly to score. Madison made a couple of crucial saves to enable us to gain a 1-0 victory. Our final opponents were Newcastle Royal Grammar School. They proved to be very tough to play against. However, we again dominated play early on and had chances to score. With Charlotte, Lucy and Carly working well down the right the Newcastle keeper had to make some big saves to prevent us from scoring. Although Olivia and Anna worked hard at the back the Newcastle forwards came in to the game and their physical strength proved too much for us and they ran out 3-0 winners.
We did not qualify for the semi-finals but played a play-off for fifth which we won with Jessica and Katie coming in and playing well. Lucy scored the winner, smacking it in to the bottom corner. Scarlett must be thanked for coming along as our reserve keeper and supporting the team on the day. Finishing fifth in the North of England is an achievement the girls should be very proud of. The two teams that defeated us ended up contesting the final with St Olaves winning.
Our boys knew that this would be an extremely challenging day. With hockey being the school’s third sport for boys we were up against it from the start. In our group we lost all three games to Nafferton (2-0), King’s Chester (4-0) and to Martongate (3-1). King’s went on to be the eventual winners of the tournament. We then had a play-off against Kirkham and unfortunately lost this 1-0 and finished eighth in the competition. A special mention must go to Hugo who played out of his skin at sweeper, to support Cameron who also played well in goals.
This hockey season has been a most memorable one for the AKS junior teams. Superb support from the sidelines, along with children showing great commitment to practising and a desire to win, has enabled us to achieve things that we would not have thought was possible at the start of the season. As a coach it has been a real pleasure to work with all the hockey players this year and I am especially proud of the success of our U11 girls winning three tournaments, including becoming Lancashire and North West Champions. Let us hope next season is as special.