Hockey youngsters in the 'stick' of it!

Sunday 3rd April 2011 10:00 pm
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ON Sunday the under 13 section of Abergavenny Hockey Club took their turn in the elimination rounds of the South Wales Cup.

Ruing the loss of the hour overnight, getting to Swansea for an early start challenged the girls whereas the boys could relax with their afternoon start in Whitchurch.

The boys first game was against Gwent 'A'. Early in the game Alex McGlynn showed the experience he has gained from playing for the men's senior team by scoring a well placed goal from an accurate pass from Dan Taylor.

It was an evenly matched game with solid defending from Joe Sevenoaks, Joe Stuckey and Jacob Church. Max Wright, in goal, was also tested and made some great saves but unfortunately Gwent managed to equalise so the final score was a draw 1-1.

In the second game Whitchurch 'B' were placed under a prolonged period of pressure with the Abergavenny forwards maintaining possession and restricting the Whitchurch defence to their own half of the pitch.

Alex held his controlling central midfield position well and distributed the ball freely to both Dan and Hollis McGlyn who were able to deliver the ball with ease to new found strike force of Taylor Jones stepping up from the Under 11's side and showing regular periods of strength in the opposition D.

On this occasion it was the right half Hollis and left half Dan who were able to capitalise on the team's performance scoring a goal each. The Whitchurch goalkeeper was on form otherwise Aber would have notched up a higher win than the 2-0 final score.

The third match was against the very strong side of Swansea. Early in the game Swansea scored three goals in quick succession but the Aber defence worked solidly to channel the attacking Swansea forwards into wider positions where the chances of scoring were significantly reduced.

Alex Francis was relentless in tracking the opposition wing forward, forcing him to scuff several shots and thwarting the onslaught.

The Swansea team being significantly older than the Abergavenny side were able to make the most of their strength and experience. Max put up a determined effort in his own goal making several diving saves and difficult clearances before the final whistle, 4-0 to Swansea.

The final game was against Llan and Caerphilly. The opposition goalkeeper was under constant barrage from the Aber team in the first few minutes of the game but despite numerous shots on goal the score was still remained 0-0.

An unlucky mistake by the Aber defence resulted in a goal for Llan and Caer. However, the Aber team were not deflated, Joe Stuckey in particular made several good defensive efforts and positioned himself well to deal with any straying opposition forwards. Their persistence paid off with a goal for Taylor and two for Alex McGlyn in a 3-1 win.

Aber under 13's had finished third in their group and now needed to play another match against the formidable Whitchurch 'A' to qualify for the cup final.

The Whitchurch attack showed great skill with several shots on goal but solid work by the Aber defence and several great saves from Max kept the scorecard empty.

Aber had a last minute attack on goal but the skillful Whitchurch goalkeeper retained his clean sheet.

The final score at fulltime was 0-0 and this meant the team were in the same situation as the U11's last week - the dreaded penalty flicks.

Aber's Alex McGlyn was first up with a confident and sensibly low flick past the Whitchurch Goalkeeper.

Whitchurch's first flick was airborne but defiantly kept out of the Aber goal by Max.

Next for Aber was a confident Dan with a skillful flick into the top left corner of the goal, 2-0. The next determined Whitchurch player was able to slot the ball low and into the corner of the goal to bring the score to 2-1.

This forced the young under 13 debutant Taylor to step up to take the final Abergavenny flick, unfortunately although his shot was on target, Taylor was unlucky with his flick.

With the score at 2-1, the pressure was on Max to save the final penalty. Thankfully the final shot was no challenge for the in form confident keeper.

The under 13 boys now also join the U11's in a hard earned but well deserved trip to Swansea on April 17 for the South Wales cup finals.

The club would like to thank the under 11's and under 9 members who played and gave away a few years in age against some difficult opposition.

The girls also pitted themselves well against their opponents in Swansea. Drawn in a difficult pool, they settled well in their first match against Gwent 'A' and created an early chance for Nia Johns up front, her fine effort thwarted by the keeper.

With with two or three very skillful players running the midfield of Gwent, it needed fine tackling by Rebecca Hoyle, Natasha Morgan and Alannah Williams to concentrate and repel the attacks.

However, a top quality reverse stick shot into the roof of the net saw Gwent take the lead and they then settled to take the win.

Yet Abergavenny could leave this match with their heads high and looked forward to the rest of the tournament.

A cool finish by Nia in the next game against Fishguard gave Aber the points. Kayleigh Jones and Mali Atkins tore their opponents apart with lovely passes into space and great movement off the ball.

Aber held on to the victory with two stunning saves by Lowri Wedlog to keep a clean sheet. Against Howells, Abergavenny took the lead with a great individual effort by Sian Phillips who caught the defence napping and her rocket shot left the keeper helpless.

An equaliser came after a scrappy affair in the D, with the ball coming through a crowd to leave Lowri with no time to react to make the save.

The final two matches were against Penarth and Whitchurch and whilst Aber created chances, legs were beginning to tire after a tough schedule of matches.

All the coaches from the club would like to make a BIG thank you to the parents for their unrivalled support and encouragement throughout the day, and indeed for their efforts in providing transport, food and humour over a long but enjoyable junior season. The Abergavenny commitment is paying off with two teams reaching the South Wales finals.

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