AKS 1st XI Hockey team are celebrating being crowned Lancashire U19 Champions after a superb team performance saw them undefeated in the Lancashire Tournament held at Kirkham.
The first game was against rivals Kirkham and as always it was a close, hard fought game. Kirkham started the quicker of the two teams attacking at pace and putting us on a back foot but solid defending from Jess H, Freya B-S, Megan C, Mollie M and Lily H limited Kirkham’s shooting opportunities and when they did get a shot in Emily P was on fine form in goal to keep the ball out of the net. Having weathered the early storm we started to enjoy some possession of our own and in the ninth minute a great move down the left involving Freya B-S and Jade F found Mollie M in midfield and her driving run and shot bought a good save from the Kirkham keeper. Minutes later we went close again when a superb cross from the right by Lucy R posed questions of the Kirkham defence but we could not get a touch in the circle and the ball flew wide. With both sides working hard both with and without the ball the scores remained level at half time.
Kirkham again started the second half with determination and went ahead in the third minute when a great shot deflected off the post and fell straight to a free Kirkham player, who slotted home despite the best efforts of a diving Emily Peacock. This spurred us into more urgency and we attacked with more purpose to win an attacking corner. Great Kirkham defence however saw then charge down the shot and counter attack at pace but another superb save from Emily P kept the score to just one and we were still in the game. Mollie M showed her class with a superb driving run and shot but the Kirkham keeper was on hand to save. In the 10th minute however we got reward for our improved attacking intent when Lucy R drilled a great cross in from the right and a deflection from Georgia C saw the ball find the net to draw us level at 1 -1. With the scores level Kirkham raised their game and again put us under pressure but more good team defence kept them at bay and at the final whistle the score remained with honours even at 1-1.
With all the games being drawn we went into our final game against Stonyhurst College knowing a win would see us lift the trophy but Stonyhurst got off to a flying start attacking from the first whistle and they won a penalty stroke in the 1st minute. A superb diving save from Emily P kept the scores level and lifted all the team and we started to play with greater desire and urgency. Attacking with pace down the right through Macey C and Lucy R we put Stonyhurst under pressure and won a corner but we could not convert and the scores remained level. Now playing with purpose and enjoying a lot more possession a piece of individual brilliance in the 6th minute saw Mollie M beat several players to get into the circle and then fire an unstoppable reverse shot into the net to take us into the lead 1-0. Stonyhurst were a constant threat playing good passing hockey but with our noses infront we raised our work rate and at half time the score remained at 1-0. The second half saw us determined to keep hold of the lead and all the team worked hard to thwart the speedy Stonyhurst attack. We created chances of our own to go further ahead the best of which came in the eighth minute when a great cross from Mollie M found Amelia A infront of goal but her first time shot flew inches wide. A great battling last quarter of the game saw everyone play their part and with some last ditch defending at times we kept the ball out of the net and at the final whistle we were celebrating a 1-0 win and being crowned Lancashire U19 Champions.
The AKS Senior team included 5 Year 13 pupils, Captains Lucy R & Jess H, Vice Captain Megan C and Macey C & Amelia A, playing their last games in AKS colours. Being crowned Lancashire U19 Champions was the perfect way to finish their school hockey careers after 7 years of commitment to school hockey which saw them play on many Saturday mornings , in Lancashire tournaments, in North of England Finals and the pinnacle no doubt travelling to play hockey on the other side of the world on tour to Australia .
We thank the girls for their tremendous commitment to school hockey and wish them well wherever their career pathways take them in the future, and hope they continue to play hockey for many years to come.