Beeston U14 Girls at Lee Valley. Photo c/o Claire Penty

What would a national final be without all of the above! The U14 girls had their fair share of all of it on Sunday!
The opening game against Reading was a very cagey affair with both teams playing nervously trying to break the stalemate. Beeston had plenty of attack but just could not penetrate the attacking circle. A counter attack by Reading provided the only amazing save of the game by Izzi Evans. Three green cards followed whilst a yellow card to Beeston in the last 3 minutes saw them hold on to a nil-all draw.  A nervous 0-0 provided a point on the board for Beeston.
The girls had calmed their nerves and played more flowing hockey against Guildford. Again, a really tight defence prevented the girls from getting into strong shooting positions. Guildford took the lead with a good PC and the debate whether the umpire prevented the best opportunity by impeding Maddie Penty on a run at goal will still be talked about by the Beeston girls. The last few minutes saw Lauren Webster as a kicking back in an attempt to bolster the Beeston attack. Unfortunately, all to no avail!
The group was still anyone’s to win going into the final round of matches. Spencer Hornets needed to win to top the group and we needed a win to make the group tied. Beeston started with an attacking 4-2-4 combination. The girls worked really hard pushing forward, looking for any opportunity to get the ball in the attacking circle at the same time tracking back.  Beeston were down to 10 players due to a yellow card suspension. On a counter attack by Spencer, Beeston put in a crunching tackle in our defending circle which led to a stroke for Spencer. High drama as Izzi Evans made a fantastic save. Again Beeston pressed high searching desperately for the elusive goal, again Spencer broke and another crunching tackle led to  another yellow and another stroke! Yet again Izzi Evans gave us a lifeline by saving it. It felt like groundhog day…. Another very hard fought nil-all draw. Another point on the board but not enough to put us into a play-off position.
The girls had to dust themselves down for a penalty stroke competition against Reading to decide third and fourth in the group. We went down 4-3 on strokes.
Our last match was against ISCA. The drama was done for the day and another even draw saw the girls finish the day in joint 7th place having conceded only one goal all tournament and one loss by a single goal. That is the national finals for you. The girls played with real heart and desire and certainly did Beeston proud.
Claire Penty – U14 Girls Manager