Hockey club back after weather enforced break
WITH all the snow and frost having finally cleared, the U9 and U11 teams of Abergavenny Hockey club managed to take part in only their second set of matches this season at a recent tournament.
First up saw the U9's pitted against Gwent 'A'. Right from the start the energetic powerhouse of Eliza Church sealed up the central midfield area, covering all areas of the pitch to ensure the opponents were left with no time on the ball.
With the match evenly balanced chances were difficult to create as both teams settled into their game. But a solid tackle from Nia Butler on the left side saw her push forward and make the telling pass to Alex Francis. Leaving the final defender helpless, Francis coolly slotted home to bag the victory for Abergavenny.
Next up were Whitchurch, a team as always brimming with confidence. Tenacious play again by Eliza saw the central midfield area dominated by Abergavenny.
With Eliza Atkins showing her superb stick skills she created opportunities from her right wing position. Nia paired up with Sam Evans and they both showed sound defensive skills; any breakout by Whitchurch was quickly snuffed out, and intelligent distribution from this pair released Alex to weave his way through to double his goal count for the morning and give Aber a 100 percent record.
Going into the final match against Gwent 'B', confidence was high but it still needed goalkeeper Chris Taylor to provide fine clearances and repel a couple of breaks.
Once Abergavenny settled they turned on the style and Eliza Atkins demonstrated more skills down the right and found Nia in space on the left.
Returning the favour Nia deployed a fantastic cross field ball where a delighted Eliza rammed the ball home. A dispirited Gwent team were then run ragged with more mazey running from Alex who deservedly scored another to give him three on the day and leave a jubilant Abergavenny with their record intact.
So, could the U11 continue the form demonstrated by their younger club-mates? Well, first up saw the opponents from the "Sue Noakes" hockey club including some very "well nourished" under 11 players in their team.
But there is no substitute for good basic skills and Abergavenny have that in abundance. Hollis McGlynn, reveling in his central midfield role, tore through the opposition and found himself hugely unlucky missing by inches on the reverse stick.
Yet with Oliver Gill providing good service down the right, Aber pulled the opponents out of shape and finally some great approach play by Bethan Phillips on the left found Hollis in the centre to drive home a great finish to take the lead.
With the opposition settling as time went on, they had a break of their own and a fine finish right into the corner of the goal gave goalie Millie Francis no chance. Although Aber continued to press they had to make do with the draw.
Next up were Whitchurch. Again, as with the U9's, the confidence of the biggest club in Wales, was tangible, but what a demonstration of hockey they were served up by Abergavenny. With Alex Kennet taking up the goalkeeping role, Millie was released into defense, where she paired up with Eleanor Evans and Elis Mostyn to provide a resolute line. The patient but very solid tackling of this trio is an impressive sight, and some of the clearances by Alex were strong and sound to say the least! Finally great skills from Hollis broke the deadlock as the Whitchurch keeper was finally beaten after many fine saves, leaving Abergavenny delighted with the win.
Finally it was time to face Cardiff. With debutants Maisy Williams and Lowri Bellis providing superb team shape on the left and right wings respectively, they forged forward around their opponents and fed our inside players.
This match saw Lauren Stockley take the centre position by the scruff of the neck and her fearless approach play saw opponents totally blown away. With chances coming regularly, Hollis scored twice, and both Lauren and Bethan had wonderful finishes to leave Aber victorious 4-0.
In summary, the teams won five and drew one match, conceding just one goal. Finally, the players voted for their players of the tournament, on this occasion the accolades went to Alex Francis for the U9's and Alex Kennett for the U11's.
Training continues at the Leisure Centre astroturf at 7pm on Tuesdays, all players irrespective of age or experience, are
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