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U12 Girls are National Champions!!

HC Knole Park’s U12 Girls have won the England Hockey U12 National Championships for the second season in a row and are crowned the best team in England! The girls beat Surbiton 2-0 in the final to seal the title and complete an amazing championship double having won the title last season too!

To qualify for the National Finals in Nottingham the U12 Girls won both the Kent Cup and South East Championships. At the finals the girls faced the winners of the other seven regions in England. In Knole Park’s group were Isca HC (West Champions), Haslemere HC (South Central Champions), and Beeston HC (Midlands Champions).

In match one against Isca HC the girls made the perfect start with Erica scoring after just 3 minutes after Ella won the ball in midfield and threaded a precise through ball to her. Erin doubled the advantage after winning the ball in the midfield and she then cruised through to score a great solo effort. In the second half the girls were in dream land as they scored five unanswered goals. First Liv M. smashed home a penalty corner strike, before Elisa did the same moments later for 4-0. Elisa then scored her second of the match with a well taken backhand. Jessica hit a fantastic forehand strike into the corner of the goal for 6-0, before Olivia "Walks" W rounded off the scoring with a tap-in after excellent midfield play from Elodie. 7-0.

In match two the girls were very good once again and it was Erica who again open the scoring after a superb run from Erin. 1-0. Erin then scored to make it 2-0 after a skilful run from Elisa. A couple of lapses in concentration at the back allowed Haslemere back into the match, however another super run and goal from Erin kept Knole Park in front at the break with a 3-2 lead. The second half was more comprehensive as the girls raised their game to another level. Martha in goal and Liv M, Elodie and Amelia were a rock in defence as they tackled everything that Haslemere could throw at Knole Park. This allowed Elisa to finish off a fantastic team goal, before Erin completed her hat-trick with an excellent penalty corner strike! 5-2 the final score.

In match three it was ‘winner takes all’ as the girls from Kent faced hosts Beeston Hockey Club. Both sides had won both their matches so far so whomever won would progress to the final. Again, Knole Park made the better start of the two teams and after 2 minutes Elisa hit home a great strike from a penalty corner. 1-0. Despite this positive start, Beeston did manage a goal from a penalty corner strike mid-way through the half. 1-1 at half-time.

The second half was another brilliant performance from Knole Park as the girls won several penalty corners. Ella was in incredible form as she skilled through the right-hand side. The Beeston defence couldn’t get anywhere near her! Defensively joint-captains Liv M, Erin, and Elisa were magnificent, and this provide Knole Park with a great platform to play from. The winning goal came from Erica as she won the ball in the press before beating the final defender and the goalkeeper giving Knole Park a 2-1 and a place in the final!

The final was the performance of the day as the girls were incredible from start to finish. Olivia W opened the scoring with a brilliant backhand strike high into the netting! It was so good she even shocked herself!! 1-0 at half-time.

The second half was again even better than the first as Surbiton struggled to get the ball out as the Knole Park girls defended superbly as a team. The winning goal was the type of individual goal you can only dream of scoring at any point in your life, let alone in the final! Erin picked the ball up in her own D before she rounded the whole of the Surbiton team and slotted the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper! A simply remarkable solo effort from Erin and this gave Knole Park a 2-0 lead. The Knole Park girls continued to dominate the match before the final time whistle went. Cue celebrations and the confirmation of an amazing achievement by the girls from Knole Park.

Director of Coaching, Duncan said: “This is a brilliant achievement by an amazing group of girls. The girls have been superb all season, and in these final few weeks they have really committed to getting better and being prepared for the Regional and National Finals. The joy that they play with is contagious and they have so much positive energy and fun whilst playing. To win this competition two years in a row post-Covid is remarkable and testament to all the hard work we put in every week and the quality coaching at Knole Park. I am tremendously proud of everyone that has been involved in Knole Park this season.”

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