Hockey: Alderley score top flight hat trick

Alderley Edge Hockey Club's (AEHC) purple patch continued at the weekend with three of its teams securing momentous wins.

The Ladies 1s secured their promotion to North Division 1 next season by winning the second of their play-off games and both the u12 Boys and u14 Girls reached their respective national age group finals.

The Ladies 1s team made the long journey to South Shields to play Newcastle Ladies in the second of their play off matches knowing that a win would be good enough to secure promotion, given that they'd won their first match the previous weekend.

They quickly heaped pressure well on a strong Newcastle defence with some slick passing and quick movement. Chances came and went but Amanda Bennison opened the scoring after 12 minutes when she roofed a ball into the net from the middle of the D. The lead was doubled when a Sarah Hopkin penalty strike was deflected into the net which left Edge 2-0 up at half time.

Issy Reynolds-Duffy, as tenacious as ever, gave Edge their third in the second half from close range after hassling the defence in to a series of mistakes. Newcastle then bounced back and applied some pressure of their own, forcing a series of penalty flicks, one of which they scored to close the game at 3-1 to Edge.

The Ladies' final play off is an away fixture against Leeds Adel next weekend.

The u14 Girls were crowned North Champions on Sunday and will now head to the National u14 finals at the Olympic Park on 15th May as one of the top-8 teams in the country. AEHC hosted the pool of qualifiers comprising Leicester, Kirkby Lonsdale and Ben Rhydding and their girls remained focussed, aggressive and determined all day.

They started the day with a 2-0 win over Kirkby Lonsdale, followed by a 4-0 win over Leicester. With Ben Rhydding also winning their first two matches and with only one team qualifying for the finals, it came down to a crunch match between them and Edge. Edge's goal difference from their previous matches gave them the advantage over Rhydding and they went into the game knowing that a win or draw would see them through.

Edge hassled and applied pressure from the outset but the score remained at 0-0 despite the ball rebounding off Ben Rhydding's goal on a couple of occasions. A fantastic result and testament to coach Tessa Bryant and this talented squad of girls who have remained unbeaten all season.

Not to be outdone, the u12 Boys also reached their National Finals after finishing runners-up in the North of England tournament. Losing to a very good Brooklands team 3-1 in the final, Edge were the only team to breach their defence all day after a fine individual goal from the captain Archie Benton. Prior to this, the won their group with two wins and a 0-0 draw against Yorkshire champions Doncaster.

Photos: U12 boys and U14 girls.

Match report by Sue Polley.

Alderley Edge Hockey Club, Hockey