HC Knole Park’s U14 Girls produce a magnificent performance!
HC Knole Park’s U14 Girls played the next round of the U16 England Hockey Indoor Cup on Saturday. Having qualified from Kent, they played in a five-way tournament with other teams from the East of England. Knole Park would have to finish in the top two to qualify for the National Finals in January.
The team made the dream start. Against the Suffolk side, Bury St. Edmunds, the girls started at a frightening pace! Some ruthless finishing from Lottie Bingham (5) and Josefina Hippe (2) meant the team were 7-0 up at half-time. The second half followed a similar pattern as the girls continued to play some excellent hockey. More goals from Lottie (3), plus another from Josefina and two from Jess Lewis meant the girls won 13-0!
The second match was against Harleston Magpies from Norfolk. Harleston have a great pedigree in indoor hockey having finished as East runners-up last season and the match proved to be a big step up. The girls had to adapt their usual free flowing hockey to take account of the quality tackling and attacking skills that the Harleston team possessed. Indeed, it was Harleston that took the lead through a well worked routine. A turnover then saw Knole Park concede a second, before they then conceded a penalty stroke. Pascale Pottier made an amazing save to keep the score to just 0-2 at half-time.
In a much improved second half Knole Park scored an early penalty corner through Lottie Bingham to halve the deficit. As the time ticked away Knole Park started to throw more at the Harleston goalkeeper who was excellent throughout. Unfortunately, this left space at the back and a great last ditch tackle from Anna Faulstich was judged to be a penalty and this time the Harleston player was able to score. 3-1 to Harleston. Unthwarted by this set back, Josefina Hippe pounced on a loose ball in the D and scored Knole Park’s second goal. In a bid to find an equalising goal, Knole Park removed their goalkeeper to have an extra outfield player. The plan almost worked as Knole Park won a penalty corner in the final minute, however they weren’t able to convert and in the dying seconds Harleston hit Knole Park on the break and they rolled the ball into an empty net to make the final score 2-4 to Harleston.
This defeat made the next match against Southgate, Middlesex, a “must win” game for both teams to secure the runners-up spot. In a very tense match both sides had chances and it was Lottie who broke the deadlock in the first half. Southgate equalised a few minutes later to make it 1-1 at half-time. The second half was even closer than the first as both sides had chances. It was the Knole Park dream team that persevered! With less than a minute on the clock, Josefina Hippe scored a fantastic individual goal to win the match!
In the final match against Cambridge the girls knew that if they won they would qualify for the National Finals. Cambridge had however drawn with Harleston earlier in the tournament, so the girls knew they couldn’t take anything for granted. Thankfully they saved their performance of the day for this match and a classy hat-trick from Lottie to take her to 13 goals for the day, and a lovely finish from Summer Knight-Thompson meant Knole Park won 4-0 and were through to the National Finals!!
A remarkable day, for a remarkable group of girls! Well done to all the girls and coaches. Ruth Bingham and Duncan Parnis were brilliant throughout the tournament. Everyone involved was a testament to the club and what we aspire to be! Many congratulations to all!
The National Finals at in Wolverhampton over the weekend of the 18th/19th January. Nine other teams will join Knole Park at the Finals for a chance to be crowned National Champions!
Thank you to Queenswood School for hosting such a great tournament!