Bedford U16’s girls team has become the most successful academy team in BHC history after winning the Tier 2 Midlands Area Finals competition hosted by Pelican’s Hockey Club on Sunday.
Bedford qualified for the event after a 100%-win rate in their local league with victories over Northampton Saints, St Neots, Rugby and a walkover from Ipswich scoring 23 goals and conceding just 4. Despite some key talent (Holly Smith, Catalina Grainger, Grace Brady and Lucy Willis) being unavailable due to Easter holidays and overseas sports tours; Bedford competed excellently at the Midlands Area Finals event and were a great credit to the club with their team spirit and work rate shining through.
Bedford made a strong start to the day against hosts Pelicans with a 5-3 victory thanks to a brace from Niamh Lynch, Ellie Scott and an excellent 1v1 finish from Phoenix Irvine before drawing 4-4 in a rollercoaster encounter against Wisbech. After letting a 2-0 lead slip, Bedford recovered from 3-2 down and 4-3 down thanks to a late goal from captain Ellie Scott which completed her first hattrick of the day with the other goal from the ever-impressive Florence Miller.
Going into the afternoon and Bedford improved their decision making defensively and with some excellent goalkeeping from Sophia Gallagher as well as brilliant defensive leadership from Alice Baker and Alexa Wilson, Bedford were able to execute an impressive 3-0 over Burton with Ellie Scott bagging another hattrick with some razor-sharp finishing in the circle.
With the fixture gods doing their usual work, the two unbeaten teams Bedford and Olton and West Warwick now faced a straight head to head for the title in the final game. The whole Bedford squad worked tirelessly and put in a huge amount of effort. Emily Ratcliffe, Cerys Peppiatt were unsung heroes throughout the day with excellent decision making and skill execution whilst Katie Sohl has improved enormously throughout the season alongside Ellen Fletcher who made some vital tackles at centre back. Jemma Jackson and Freya Chapman added incredible energy and passing quality to the midfield and Bedford through Scott and Irvine raced into a 2-0 half time lead. Olton responded and got a goal back however Bedford’s all-round team display, and quality saw the game out with a fantastic 2-1 win.
The squad (photo left to right) Ellen Fletcher, Alexa Wilson, Ellie Scott, Sophia Gallagher, Alice Baker, Phoenix Irvine, Flo Miller; Katie Sohl, Freya Chapman, Emily Ratcliffe, Cerys Peppiatt, Niahm Lynch, Jemma Jackson.
Updated 13:14 - 9 Apr 2018 by Kate Costin