Belper U16 Girls travelled to Wolverhamton to take part in the EH Regional Indoor Finals on the 9th December. The top two teams qualify for the national finals.
Belper got off to a flying start in the first game against Lichfield with Helena slotting the ball home within the first four minutes of the game. Lichfield struck back almost immediately to level the game and went ahead scoring from a penalty corner. At the start of the second half Nic drove the ball out of defence and levelled the match with a well struck goal. The match ended in a 2 – 2 draw.
In next match Belper V Leicester Belper got off to a slow start allowing Leicester to score after just 16 seconds. Leicester followed this by scoring again from a penalty awarded against Belper. Once again Helena stayed cool under pressure and brought the team back to 2 -1 down. Charlotte followed this up using her skills to beat the keeper making us level at 2 – 2. With the 3 minutes of the first half left Charlotte again drove into the D drawing in the Leicester keeper releasing the ball to Niamh who sent the ball round the back of the keeper into the goal. Leicester were not about to give up and followed with a well struck goal of their own. At the start of the 2nd half Charlotte and Niamh again worked together allowing Niamh to once again send the ball around the back of the keeper. Swiftly followed by another goal from Helena the team were 5 – 3 up. Leicester still refused to give up and scored again bringing the match to 5 – 4. Despite continued pressure Belper couldn’t get around the keeper and the outcome rested on a penalty corner awarded to Leicester on the final whistle. Great defence from Belper resulted in a 5 -4 win.
Next match Belper V Beeston was as expected a very tough match. The girls started well Lucie working hard in goal to keep Beeston out until just before half time when they were awarded a penalty corner. Beeston scored the penalty corner and two further goals just before half time. Beeston again started strongly in the second half scoring 3 further goals ended the match as 6 – 0 winners.
Belper v Wolverhampton was the final match of the day and would decide who would come 2nd in the competition. Belper were awarded 2 penalty corners in the first 4 minutes. A superb performance by the Wolverhampton goalie kept both these out. Wolverhampton stuck back with a goal of their own and a good short corner routine saw them secure a 2 – 0 lead. Belper upped their game with Niamh scoring just before half time. Belper started strongly again in the 2nd half the Wolverhampton keeper saving a father 3 shots on goal before Charlotte found a way around her to level the match. The match stayed level until with 30 seconds to go Belper were awarded a penalty corner. Charlotte nearly stuck home with an on target shot stopped by the body of the Wolverhampton defender. A penalty stroke was awarded and Nic stepped up to take it with 15 seconds left of the clock. A powerful flick found the back of the goal leaving Belper as the winners 3 – 2.
Overall the team ran out in 3rd place missing out on a place in the national finals on goal difference. A great performance by all and for some of the newer members of the squad this was their first experience of competitive indoor hockey – they acquitted themselves very well.
Squad: Nic (Captain) Nina, Victoria, Alice, Emily, Helena, Charlotte, Lucie, Niamh and Sarah