East of England U16 Girls Hockey Champions
After two days of considerable drama Newport Free Grammar School’s U16 Girls Hockey team have emerged as champions of the East of England, an area stretching from Lincolnshire down to Kent. Having successfully negotiated their pool and a playoff match last Thursday they were involved in a round robin event to try and win the Championship and a place in the National Finals.
Their first game was against Kings Canterbury. This was always going to be a tough match. Initially Kings were on top but Newport began to work their way into the match and were able to create some chances but could not convert any into goals. However, a strong Newport defence consisting of Katie Palmer, Hollie Anderson, Eleanor Tew, Lizzie Roberson and Holly Stanford together with Olivia Doust in goal kept Kings from creating any real scoring opportunities. Newport started the second half where they had left off the first but again a chance went begging. The final minutes saw Kings awarded a number of penalty corners and in the end Newport were grateful to come away with the goalless draw.
In the second match against Spalding High School Newport got off to a dream start when in the first minute Emily Dan broke down the right and slotted the ball past the keeper. Then a great through ball from Kate Pitfield to Claire Wyatt enabled her to slip the ball into the bottom corner. Then Claire Wyatt converted another to finish the game at 3-0. Meanwhile Kings had beaten Ipswich School 3-1.
Newport went into their last match against Ipswich School knowing that in order to win the tournament and secure a place in the National Finals they had to at least match the result that Kings, Canterbury achieved on the other pitch against Spalding. It did not look good for Newport when Ipswich exerted early pressure and took the lead. However, Newport worked their way back into the game and Claire Wyatt scored to level the match at half time. After half time Kate Pitfield added a goal to give Newport the lead. Newport were awarded a penalty corner. Brooke White knocked the ball out to Kate Pitfield who slipped it back to Brooke who swept the ball firmly through the keepers legs. Newport seemed to then put the result beyond doubt when Claire Wyatt seized on another great pass from Lydia Michaelides and took it round the keeper and gave Newport a 4-1 lead. Unfortunately in the final minutes Ipswich scored a second to leave Newport wondering whether they had done enough. The match on the other pitch was running several minutes behind and Newport watched nervously as Kings were two goals up against Spalding. However, Spalding then broke away and scored. Newport and Kings Canterbury had both finished with two wins and a draw but Newport’s superior goal difference gave them the title.
Newport Free Grammar School now go on to represent the East of England in the National Schools Finals on 1st and 2nd March at Cannock. They will be one of eight teams – the champions of each of the five hockey regions together with the best three of the runners up.
The picture shows:
Back: Hollie Anderson, Lydia Michaelides, Olivia Burnage, Lizzie Roberson, Claire Wyatt, Katie Palmer, Brooke White, Kristina Cox, Gordon Scott (coach),
Front: Anna Higginson, Emily Dan, Kate Pitfield, Olivia Doust, Eleanor Tew, Olivia Welby, Holly Stanford
Newport Free Grammar School