It was all about the girls this weekend as AEHC's U14 and U12 teams rounded off a fantastic season by contesting their age-group National finals. With just eight teams qualifying for the finals, this was a fantastic achievement given that their opposition comprised some of the country's most prominent clubs, many of whose senior teams play in the English Premier League.
The U14s earned the privilege of playing at the Olympic stadium at Lee Valley in London and more than held their own, finishing a very credible fifth after beating Clifton Robinsons 3-0 and Southgate 1-0 in their pool games but narrowly losing to eventual title winners, and arguably England's strongest club, Surbiton, 0-1. As the highest placed Northern team, however, they headed back to Cheshire having done themselves and the club proud.
Closer to home, and showing the depth of talent the club has in this age group, the U14 girls B team hosted the Tier 2 North Finals and emerged victorious as well-deserved North Champions having been undefeated all season. The previous day the girls U12 squad, already crowned North Champions, took part in the In2Hockey U12 National Finals at Beeston in Nottinghamshire. They came away with their heads held high with draws against Teddington and Yeovil & Sherborne and losses against the hosts and last year's champions Sevenoaks.
At the other end of the age (and sex) spectrum, The Mens O40s put in what can only be described as a Herculean effort in the Masters National Finals at Lee Valley the previous weekend. Like the girls this weekend, they found themselves up against Premier League opposition in the shape of Canterbury. Edge held them to a 3-3 score line at the end of full time, only to ultimately lose out 12-13 after penalty shuffles. Despite the result, the Men put in one of the best performances of the tournament but it's safe to say there were a few tired legs as both teams came off the pitch!
All teams now go into a well-earned summer break before hopefully coming out even stronger next season to capitalise on this year's results which has seen what is, essentially a village club, increasingly becoming a force to be reckoned with at National level.
Match report by Sue Polley.