U10 Girls Hockey Crowned County Champions

Four Henley Hockey Club junior teams attended the In2Hockey Oxfordshire Cup tournament on last Sunday, with the U10 girls team being crowned county champions and two other squads also reaching the finals of their respective competitions, with all three teams progressing to the regional stage of the England Hockey-led national championships.

The U10 Girls had six matches in their group stage, with the top two progressing straight to the final. The Henley side came top of their group stage by winning five of their matches and drawing 0-0 with Oxford, which was the team to come second and who they would meet again in the final. By now they had really jelled as a team and were playing some flowing hockey so it was a well-deserved win of 3-0 in the final to take the county championship. The team scored 18 goals throughout the competition, with nine of the goals scored by Georgie Quinn, and kept a clean-sheet, thanks to goalkeeper Sophie Ward. Kat Green, lead coach, adds “This was an impressive display of hockey with the girls working hard as a team to defend well and produce turn-overs to counter-attack and get results. Base-line runs from Lily Jones created countless chances on goal and goal-of-the-tournament goes to Bridget Moorcroft for her chip into the net. I am excited to see how they get on at the regionals in April. Thanks to Sam Austin and Steve Tomlinson for running the sideline and for all their coaching assistance this season.”

Ali Jean-Jean, coach of the U12 Girls, said “This skilful group of players showed great team spirit and were determined to repeat the success of last year’s winning team. They were efficient in the group stages and made it through the semi-finals against Wallingford, where goals from Seren Quinn and Tilly Alderton gave them the 2–0 win sending them into the finals. Although they did not come away with the trophy after losing on penalties, as finalists they still qualify for the next regional round.”

The U10 Boys had three matches in their group stage, drawing the first game 0-0 and the second match 1-1. Knowing they had to win their final group match to progress to the knock-out stages, they upped their energy and tempo and won 5-1. The boys then won their semi-final against Oxford Hawks 2-1 to reach the final against Oxford. The final was an end-to-end match but the Henley side lost 4-2 to be runners-up of the county championships. Lead coach Kat Green says: “For a team that entered without a goalkeeper, and with many of the players still in Year 4, this was still a fantastic achievement. What I am most proud of is the strength and depth in the squad, with all players contributing to the results instead of relying on one or two standout players, which bodes well for the regional tournament. Thank you to Robbie Mortimer and Mel Joyce for their assistance on the sideline during the tournament and for all their help and support this season.”

Henley were also able to enter a U12 boys team for the first time in a number of seasons. The players had not played together as a team before but they quickly learnt how each other played and each game improved markedly, although so did the level of competition from the other sides. They drew the first game 1-1, with a fantastic goal scored by Albie Tomlinson. Mention should go to Kitty Pivonka who stepped in as goalkeeper and she was tremendous in stopping a large number of shots on goal. Coach Kat Green adds: “Whilst the team lost their remaining matches, as many of the team are in Year 6 we look forward to them returning next year for another go. Thank you to Dan Austin for running the team.”

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