Youngsters lead Blueharts in to break with double success setting up more huge games

PUBLISHED: 08:53 06 November 2020

The U18 girls’ squad at Blueharts who beat St Albans in the National Junior Championship.

The U18 girls’ squad at Blueharts who beat St Albans in the National Junior Championship.

Archant

Blueharts talented youngsters have something to look forward to after hockey’s temporary suspension as both U18 sides made it through to the next round of national competitions,

The Hitchin-based club have downed sticks for four weeks after the government’s restrictions brought a halt to grassroots sports.

But before they did the U18 boys moved into the last 16 of the England Hockey National Cup, beating Old Merchant Taylors’ 2-0 in what coach Mark Russell hailed “a great all-round team performance”.

James Henry and Tom Russell were the scorers in that one while Josie Layton’s solitary goal helped the U18 girls win 1-0 against St Albans and progress to round two of the England Hockey Junior Championships.

Blueharts started strong with Alice Seymour distributing the ball towards Haly Turney, with the skipper narrowly missing the goal on the back left post.

St Albans were persistent in their efforts, keeping a high forward line that forced centre-backs Mia Luk and Iris Cameron to maintain a constant level of vigilance.

Luk’s sweeping interceptions and passes did help Blueharts create several chances down the right wing, Ella Blackmore a thorn in the St Albans side.

Layton’s work rate paid off as she was first able to intercept a pass out of defence, receiving the ball on her reverse stick at the top of the D, before dragging it around the advancing keeper and slotting the ball home.

Both teams continued to have their chances after half-time.

Goalkeeper Rose Martin had to make several crucial saves on the floor while U16 Sophia Moir had an excellent debut for the higher age group, linking up with Seymour in the midfield to create several breakaway chances.

The final home attack saw Blackmore and Moir work up the right wing to find skipper Turney unmarked in the oppositions D. A confident St Albans keeper came off her line to force Turney back to the top D with Seymour ready to pounce but the blues couldn’t convert.

St Albans did get one final chance on the break in the closing seconds, the final whistle blowing on a short corner with the pressure mounting on the Blueharts defence.

However, Luk was able to force Saints to shoot wide and Blueharts claimed the win.


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