Over the weekend of the 18th/19th January 2014 Wycombe Hockey Under 18 girls took on the best in the country at Whitgift School, Croyden. They had qualified as runners up in the South region in December, and with our sponsorship they were able to attend.
Whitgift school was very lovely with flamingos and peacocks walking around.
Wycombe were in a tough group with their first match against eventual semi-finalists Ipswich. They were on top for the first four minutes but were then hit twice on the break very quickly. Vicky Fallan got a goal back from a Short Corner. Wycombe did not take their chances in the second half but Ipswich did. Ollie Hamilton was frustrated as she managed to just miss out to the left and then the right of goal and Meghan Howitt came close after a lovely pass from Amanda Greenwood. Emma Postings came on as a kicking back for the last few minutes but Wycombe were not able to pull anything back. The final match score was Wycombe 1 – 5 Ipswich.
The second group match was against Ashmoor and Wycombe kept them very quiet with two first half goals from Emma Postings coming from Short Corners. In the second half it was more of the same with Ollie Hamilton scoring and they could have had another soon after if the pass to Emma Couves, unmarked in the centre, had been put through. Postings was on fire and ran through the defence adding another from open play. Jess Hole and Postings magnificently kept the opposition at bay so Fi Bennell had a quieter game in goal but on the one occasion she was beaten, Amanda Greenwood pulled off a terrific block on the line. Wycombe then had a short corner awarded just as the final whistle went, and Postings again stepped up and converted this for her fourth goal of the match. A great end to the first day’s play. Final score was Wycombe 5 – 0 Ashmoor.
The first match of the second day was against the eventual National Champions, Beeston. Their team includes a number of U18 England players and several members of the Repton team that won the National Schools’ title the week before. Wycombe conceded an early goal but equalised after Amanda Greenwood stole the ball and then made a surging run down the right and passed to Vicky Fallan who slotted the ball home. Beeston went ahead again but then Greenwood won a short corner for Wycombe which Ollie Hamilton put away on the third attempt to bring the score back to 2-2 at half time. In the second half there were a number of great saves from Fi Bennell. Beeston were very disciplined and patient playing the ball across the back robotically until something opened up and enabled them to push forward again. There was a harsh yellow card for Emma Postings for what looked like a 50-50 challenge but it did not affect the end result as Beeston had by then put another three past the Wycombe defence. Wycombe 2 – 6 Beeston.
In Wycombe’s final group game they were not able stop Wakefield from scoring. Fi Bennell again pulled off more impressive saves to keep Wycombe in the game. Meghan Howitt had a great match including some near misses and a clearance off the line. Vicky Fallan came close to scoring and Zoe Harris only just missed the rebound. Wakefield were just too strong for Wycombe who didn’t manage to score. Wycombe 0 – 5 Wakefield
Although the U18s did not get through the group stages, they did really well to qualify and had a great weekend at the finals. Wycombe had a smaller squad than most of the teams in the finals and on top of this had to contend with key players suffering injury and illness.
Squad: Fi Bennell, Emma Couves, Vicky Fallan, Amanda Greenwood, Ollie Hamilton, Zoe Harris, Jess Hole, Meghan Howitt, Emma Postings