U18 Girls make Cup Final with 4-1 win

Match Report: Bournemouth Girls U18’s 1 Southgate Girls U18’s 4

U18 National Championship Semi Final

31st August 2020

All good things come to he who waits, and so it was with the U18’s inexorable march to the National U18 Championship Final next Sunday. The long, pandemic, delayed Semi Final with Bournemouth finally took place on August Bank Holiday Monday. The extensive lay-off didn’t interrupt the Girls progress as they won through 4-1 to face Repton, although this wasn’t quite the serene victory the score line suggests.

This journey started in South London on the 17th November 2019 against Spencer, nearly 10 months ago, and we have to congratulate England Hockey’s determination to see their Competitions completed and the efforts of Bournemouth to ensure this game went ahead. The Girls have had the toughest run to the Final possible having been drawn away from home in every round, the t-shirt will look like a rock tour when we finally get it out, Earlsfield, Surbiton, Harleston, Bournemouth and Nottingham; ok maybe not so much an AC/DC tour more the Rubettes, but still quite a few miles covered. In performances though the Girls have treated us to a grand show, and if some nerves afflicted both sides yesterday that can be forgiven with such a prize at stake.

And so to a Sunny Bank Holiday in Bournemouth, in a game forever to be know as Georgie’s last stand. Georgie Shrimpton made her final appearance for the Club’s Junior sides, having started at the age of 8, before jetting off to University in Canada. Georgie has been an excellent member of so many teams but here she signed off in style with a goal and an assist and constant harassment of the opposition. Despite the perfect conditions the early stages were littered with mistakes from both teams, and rhythm was elusive. It was no surprise when mistakes in the Southgate defence allowed Bournemouth possession in the D and a suitably scruffy goal broke the deadlock after 20 minutes.

Bournemouth 1 Southgate 0

The next 10 minutes of the game were pivotal, another home goal could have tipped the balance. Zara Rose in goal made a couple of smart saves, but generally the defence, marshalled superbly by Robyn Hodges, was managing to keep the clever running home attackers at bay. Some of the tackling by Robyn and Sofia Martin in particular was exquisite in its precision, and it had to be to avoid giving away any more than a couple of corners and continually relieving the pressure.

Southgate, to their credit, had also upped their intensity after the opening goal and began to put pressure on the home defence. The Bournemouth keeper made 2 fine stops before another attack broke the home resistance. Lucy Leel managed to find Hannah Kilpatrick on the edge of the D and she finessed her way passed a couple of challenges before the ball ran loose. There followed an almighty scramble before the ball once again arrived in Hannah’s arc and she pushed the ball home to level the scores.

The goal definitely had an effect on the Southgate team and from this point on they gained the upper hand in the game. Before half time another surging run by Lucy Leel could have provided the lead but the home keeper plunged out to her to smother the chance.

Half Time: Bournemouth 1 Southgate 1

Grant sat the team down at half time and urged simplicity. The Girls had been trying too hard in the first half and we had been getting caught in possession too often. He also administered a change in shape to 4-3-3 to ensure the Bournemouth central midfielder was picked up. Until that point with no direct person to mark her she had been pulling the home teams strings.

From the opening minutes of the second half the instructions and the shape gave the team a more comfortable look. Ella Sherring, Hannah K and Gabby Greenwood started to boss proceedings in midfield and the forward line was beginning to look really threatening. As if to emphasise the adherence to the ‘simplicity’ instruction the second goal was borne of three quick passes, Hannah to Ella, Ella to Maddie Axford, Maddie to Lucy Leel in the D a ball to the far post and there was Georgie to apply the finish.

Bournemouth 1 Southgate 2

The home side looked devastated to be behind, and like busses goals can come in twos. Maddie was now rampant across the pitch and she again drove into the heart of the Bournemouth defence, confusion reigned in the D, and with a subtle touch from Georgie into Maddie’s path again the ball was swept home to extend the lead and break home hearts.

Bournemouth 1 Southgate 3

The game was still far from done and with Hannah having to retire from the game with cramp it could have opened a door back for the home side. In reality there were few scares, although Zara did have to time one dive out to the strikers’ feet and also be quick of her line when the defence, for once, lost a little concentration, but Sofia, Robyn, and Ella were closing down and winning the ball back regularly and Maddie and Lucy Leel were continually harassing the home defence. Gabby Greenwood started making some signature graceful glides down the line, and from one of these she won a short corner. The corner was played out and the ball pushed to Maddie who found the top corner with an expert finish.

Bournemouth 1 Southgate 4

Perhaps not as scintillating as previous rounds but Semi Finals are about the outcome and not the performance and the Girls got the job done. The plaudits could be awarded across the team with everyone working hard over the 70 minutes, and Grant making a decisive intervention at half time, but this was Georgie’s day and as she got the second goal we can say she notched the winner in this semi-final; Georgie all the very best from all of us for your time in Canada and we hope to see you back someday. Girls Repton await on Sunday, you’ve come this far now go finish the job!

Team: Zara Rose: Robyn Hodges, Jemima Bisseker, Claudia Joarder, Georgie Shrimpton, Ella Sherring, Alice Broderick, Hannah Kilpatrick, Gabby Greenwood, Maddie Axford, Gabby Murray-Panayiotou (Capt), Lucy Leel, Taanya Fice, Laura Ellis

Report by Jim Sherring