AEHC’s u16 girls, The Gleave Homes-sponsored u10 and u12 girls and the Ladies 1s all ended their seasons on incredible highs, raising the benchmark for what a village club can achieve with the right coaching and facilities in place in the process.
The u16 girls headed to the England Hockey National Finals in Wakefield at the weekend and excelled themselves by finishing fourth against competition from much larger and more established clubs. They opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against ultimate Championship runners-up Stourport before narrowly losing their second pool game against Sevenoaks on Saturday evening. The girls came out fighting again on Sunday morning and an early goal from Flossie Blackwell set the tone for their ultimate 2-1 win against Cambridge City in their third pool game. Tally Smith doubled Edge’s lead after 34 minutes before Cambridge pulled one goal back.
This win earned the girls a place in the 3rd and 4th place playoff against Reading. This game remained scoreless for the first 30 minutes before Reading scored from open play. Nonetheless, Edge’s overall fourth place is one of the best in the club’s history in this National competition and bodes very well for the future.
Indeed several of these u16 girls could well be playing in the National League on a weekly basis next season after the Ladies 1s earned promotion into the Investec Womens Hockey League Conference North after a nail biting final week of the league season. Edge’s promotion ultimately rested in the hands of Didsbury Northern not overtaking them in their final game on goal difference. To Didsbury’s credit, they gave it their all and came very close but, ultimately, Edge’s earlier results saw them through. Playing Ladies hockey at National League level is another momentous first for the club and sees them now join the Mens 1st XI in playing at semi-professional level.
Not to be outcome by their older club mates, the u10 girls ended their season as North Champions, beating Fylde 5-1 in the In2hockey North Regional Finals at Leeds. The girls had a fantastic tournament winning all their group games, cumulatively scoring 15 goals and only conceding two. The u12 girls did their best to replicate this result in their Regional Finals by heading their group but sadly came unstuck in their semi final against City of York.