HC Knole Park’s U14 Girls were crowned the best U14 Girls hockey team in England on Saturday! Wins against Trojans HC from Hampshire and Repton HC from Derbyshire at the National Finals saw the girls win the National Finals and lift the trophy as the champions of England!
In a three-way finals competition the girls faced Trojans Hockey Club in match one. Trojans had already played and beaten Repton 2-0 earlier in the day so they knew it would be a tough match. The girls continued their fantastic run of form and in a close match it was a great team goal finished off by Talya Harvey that saw Knole Park run out as 1-0 winners.
In match two the girls played very well once again as they started fast and continued to play well throughout. The girls took an early 2-0 lead after two excellent finishes by Summer Knight-Thompson. Repton battled back at the start of the second half and scored a good goal, however the Knole Park girls weren’t going to let the lead slip. Summer duly completed her hat-trick after an excellent run and pass by Bella Muñoz, before Evie Smith made sure of the title with a superb solo effort. Evie rounded the goalkeeper before slipping the ball into the goal to make it 4-1 and ensure the trophy was going to come back to Kent!
The U14 Boys also won gold in their National Final. Playing in the EH Plate competition the boys had beaten all those that had stood in their way since their first round defeat in the Cup competition back in May. The final was no different as the boys racked up a hugely impressive 9-0 win against City of York. A hat-trick from Louis van den Rijse, two goals from Isaac Dale and Indy Morris, as well as goals for William Galloni and Iggy Muñoz were testament to the boys quality and dominance on the day as they were worthy winners!
From the start the Knole Park boys were outstanding. Isaac Dale won a penalty corner which he duly converted himself. Louis van den Rijse then scored his first with a powerful backhand into the top corner! Isaac scored again from another penalty corner for his second, before Iggy Muñoz rolled in an excellent team move to make it 4-0 at the break.
The second half was more of the same as the Knole Park boys wanted to ensure they also brought back some silverware to Kent! Indy Morris scored two excellent individual goals, whilst Louis scored a cracking forehand strike. William Galloni’s goal was a picture of calmness as he picked up a rebound and slotted it past the very impressive City of York goalkeeper to make it 8-0. Finally there was just enough time for Louis to round off the scoring with another great strike, this time into the top corner off his forehand! 9-0 it finished. The City of York goalkeeper was outstanding and made a number of high quality saves in the match, but the boys were too strong, and took their chance to play their best hockey in the National Final!
The only defeat of the day came in the U16 Girls Final. A 2-3 defeat to Thirsk Hockey Club from Yorkshire was a sad end of the season for a fantastically talented group of girls who had been brilliant all season. A brace from Polly Brownlow in the second half took Knole Park into the lead, however Thirsk had too much on the day and scored a late winner to leave Knole Park to pick up the silver medals on this occasion.
Knole Park U16 Girls started exceptionally well, however didn’t make the most of their early chances. Josefina Hippe created a number of chances often beating 4-5 defenders in the process, but the girls didn’t test the Thirsk goalkeeper enough. Indeed it was against the run of play that Thirsk scored from a penalty corner. A lucky deflection looping over the stranded Pascale Pottier in goal made it 1-0 to Thirsk at the break.
The second half started the same as the first, but the big difference was that the girls took their chances! First a great team move with Phoebe Gough-Cooper playing in Alex Sewell who unselfishly squared the ball to Polly Brownlow to finish made it 1-1 before moments later Polly smashed in a brilliant backhand strike and the girls were 2-1 up!
With ten minutes to go, up stepped Thirsk’s England U18 star who skillfully glided her way through the Knole Park defence to score a stunning solo effort - all tied at 2-2. Despite the remarkable efforts of Amelie Allen, Josefina Hippe and Olivia Breed in midfield to try and engineer a winner it looked like the game was headed to a penalty shootout. However with an almost carbon copy deflected goal Thirsk stole the lead with just three minutes left. In the dying seconds Annabel Cheveley did somehow manage to beat the whole Thirsk defence and work her way into the D, but sadly the chance went agonisingly wide. And that was that - a 2-3 defeat and HC Knole Park had to settle for being the second best team in England at U16 Girls level.
Duncan Parnis, HC Knole Park’s Director of Coaching said:
“We have all worked exceptionally hard at HC Knole Park to ensure that we have the balance between offering every member a high quality hockey experience and being a high performance hockey club. Our membership numbers are increasing and all our members are playing some brilliant hockey so we must be doing something right! The positivity from other teams, coaches and England Hockey at the National Finals was also very nice to hear.
I am delighted that our U14 Girls played so well in both matches. We have a very special group of U14 Girls at Knole Park and they have dominated every match they played in throughout June, but they raised their levels once again on Saturday to produce their best performances of the season. I am so pleased for them that they scored their chances! The best team in England! Wow!
Our U14 Boys have gone from strength to strength this season. The Plate run they have been on has been fantastic for them and just what the boys needed after a very tough year for all. They were outstanding in the final! Next season will be very exciting for these boys!
And for the U16 Girls who had an amazing Cup run; whilst the defeat was disappointing, all the girls involved in this Cup run should be very proud of their efforts this summer. To compete has brilliantly as you did under the circumstances was incredible. Second best in England is still fantastic, and we will be back!”
HC Knole Park runs fully inclusive high quality junior training all year round for beginners to junior internationals, from those as young as Year 1 to those in Year 13. Please visit: www.hcknolepark.com for more information on how to get your hockey journey started!