Girls u14s

SUNDAY saw the England Hockey Tier 1 North Finals for the Thirsk U14 girls held in Stourport.

Thirsk faced three games, against Alderley Edge, Stourport and Bowden.

Thirsk started against with Alderley Edge, a fantastic team who pressed very hard. Having soaked up the pressure, Thirsk broke the deadlock with a fantastic run down the left, into the D and then reverse hit into the far corner. 1-0 at half time, and a stern half-time talk followed. The second half saw a different team, confidence from the first goal led to some lovely passing hockey, and they got another goal which took the wind out of the opposition. A third followed, 3-0 final score.

The next match was against the hosts, Stourport. Thirsk didn’t start so well, Stourport had all the pressure and eventually scored. Thirsk went into half-time a goal down. Slightly changing the formation after the break, Thirsk threw themselves into the second half and soon got the equaliser. A second followed, and then a new penalty corner routine yielded an absolute cracker of a goal. Another goal from open play meant a final score of 4-1. The only downside of this match was that Poppy took a ball direct on the end of her finger at pace, and she was whisked off to A&E.

The final game was against Bowden, and on paper this should have been Thirsk’s easiest match. But Thirsk couldn’t take anything for granted, since a win would mean they were off to Nationals. Again, Thirsk did not play well to start with, but they reached half time at 0-0. The coach had some stern words, and they came out like a different team. They ended up 4-0 winners. An amazing achievement for a very special group of girls – off to Nationals as one of the top 8 sides in the country. For a little town in North Yorkshire, that is a fantastic achievement. The Nationals will take place on 12th May at Reading Hockey Club.

Ladies 2nds travel to Skipton

ON Saturday Thirsk played their final league match of the season away v Skipton. Thirsk were sitting in 3rd position in the table but could be overtaken with anything less than a win so were determined to finish on a high. The match was played on a bouncy pitch which Thirsk took time to adjust to but soon got into their stride. The midfield was able to make runs through the middle of the pitch but Skipton were strong in defence and made it difficult for Thirsk. However, the pressure paid off midway through the first half with a good run to the back line and a turn and shot into the bottom corner. When Skipton attacked, the defence of Molly, Lynne and Fletch were strong and cleared the ball up the pitch. Chelsea was also sharp in goal, being quick off her line to clear any chances that did fall to the Skipton forwards. The half time score was 1-0. The second half was quite scrappy at times with both umpires blowing their whistles frequently making it hard for either team to get any momentum. Skipton equalised with a flick from the left side which sneaked in at the post. Thirsk were still fighting to get a win however and started to take control with better passing throughout the midfield of Grace, Hattie, Libby and Naomi. After a good run down the right side the ball was played to the left post where Hayley was on hand to put the ball into the net. With the final whistle approaching Skipton tried to attack one final time but Thirsk held firm to secure a 2-1 win and 3rd position in the league. Player of the match was awarded to Chelsea for her great goalkeeping.

Men's 3rds away at Airedale

THE final game of Thirsk's season was away at league leaders Airedale, who started the game slowly allowing Thirsk to create some half chances and Ben Harrison was able to convert one to secure top scorer for the season. Unfortunately, Airedale woke up and started to compete robustly for every ball, putting increasing pressure on the Thirsk central defenders Michael Crampton, Owen Williams and Jack Devlin and forcing a series of short corners from which they scored 2, plus another before half time. The second half started well for Thirsk, with Ian Foxley and Sam Kelly having plenty of possession in central midfield, bringing the wide players into the game, but the team were unable to unlock the Airedale defence, despite Will Norman and Connor Wilkinson's best efforts. 2 more goals followed to leave Airedale 5-1 winners in a fairly balanced match.

Thirsk finish 6/14 in the league.

Man of the match and player of the season: Sam Kelly.