AKS U16 hockey team played in the North West Semi Finals on Tuesday and continued their hockey development both as individuals and as a team.
The first game against King William College from the Isle of Man saw us start well when we went ahead after just two minutes. A great run and cross from Georgia C found Alex C in the circle and she coolly spun and pushed the ball into the corner to make it 1 – 0. We could have gone further ahead in the 5th minute when a driving run from Farrah D saw her find space in the circle but her shot flew just wide. We continued to press forward but King William had a good chance in the 7th minute which was well saved by Verity W. King William increased the intensity of their game and deservedly drew level in the 14th minute when a good passing move found a forward free in the circle and she found the net to make it 1 – 1 at the break. We started the second half on the front foot and won several attacking corners but could not find the net. Great defending from Hannah B, Rebecca H, Amy I and Sally D thwarted the King William attacks and the midfield linked well with the attack to cause the opposition problems but at the final whistle we had to settle for just one point.
The second game was against Hill House and it started very evenly. Mille D was a constant threat on the right and her driving runs put Hill House on the back foot and won a corner in the 7th minute. A great lifted shot from Farrah D was well saved by the opposition keeper and despite great scrambling by all the forwards Hill House cleared their lines to keep the scores level. More great attacking play with Sally D, Sally S and Mille D linking well saw us dominate down the right but at half time the scores were level at 0 – 0. The second half again started well with Sophie B showing her skills in midfield but in the 4th minute a driving run from midfield saw Hill House beat several players before driving the ball into the corner to take the lead. Lifted by the goal Hill House attacked with pace and numbers and they went further ahead minutes later when after a first great save from Tara W, the rebound fell to another forward and she found the net at the second attempt to make it 0 – 2. Despite this setback we again lifted our game and attacked at pace but we could not find the net and at the final whistle the score was 0 – 2.
We went into the last game against Queens, Chester with a final place still within our grasp but knowing a win was essential. Queens started the quicker putting us under pressure and only great corner defence stopped them from going ahead and in the 9th minute a great save from Verity W maintained parity on the scoreboard. Having weathered the storm we started to get our passing game together and a great driving run from Mille D in the 12th minute was well defended by Queens and they needed more solid defence minutes later when a great cross from Mille D found Alex C in the centre but she could not find the net. The game changed in the 15th minute when two break away goals saw Queens go into the break 2 – 0 ahead. Lifted by the late goals Queens started the second half on the front foot and when an unstoppable strike from a corner made it 3 – 0 we were very much against it. However to our great credit we lifted out game and with nothing to lose we threw everything at Queens. A great run and shot from Farrah D saw Georgia C first to the rebound but her shot was agonisingly wide. More great attacking play saw Alec C and Mille D create chances, the best of which saw Lucy R on the left post come close to getting on the end of a Duncan cross but we could not find the net and two late goals from Queens made the final score 0 – 5.
Despite not progressing to the North Finals the team can be proud of how well they played and all the girls have learnt a great deal from the experience and performance in the tournament that they can now take forward to matches in the future.