Hockey girls’ county glory

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A successful day at the county U12 hockey tournament saw 30 pupils represent AKS in the A, B and C teams, with the Bs crowned Lancashire champions.

The A team started the tournament off by playing Rossall School and took the lead at the start of the second half with an instinctive strike from Ruby Wildish.

Rossall equalised and then scored a winner in a goalmouth scramble.

AKS had to win their next game against Kirkham Grammar School, though it was KGS who scored the only goal in the second half.

AKS won their other two games, beating Baines convincingly as Ziv Lilson scored four goals and Hattie Ross two, with Hannah Turner and Ruby Wildish also on target.

Ross netted five against Lytham St Annes, Wilson also netting a hat-trick in the 8-0 win which left AKS in third place.

AKS B team started with very close match against Kirkham B team. Both teams had a lot of strong play as the match ended goalless.

AKS then faced Lytham C team and had to be patient before finally running out 2-0 winners.

With lots of friendly rivalry in the next match against their own C team, AKS B came away with a 5-0 victory.

AKS needed to win their last match against Lytham to win the tournament overall, whereas Lytham needed only a draw.

In a tense and exciting match, AKS were able to score the only goal to be crowned Lancashire County B team Champions.

AKS C started out against Lytham C and their patience was rewarded with the only goal.

The other matches pitted AKS against B teams, and though they lost to Lytham, Kirkham and their own B team, AKS certainly competed well and can be proud of their achievements.

Teams came from as far afield as London and Edinburgh to AKS’s annual U12 Jean Torrance Invitation Tournament.

With 30 AKS Year 7 hockey players taking part and many more senior players involved in coaching, umpiring and organising on the day, it certainly made for a great school event, which was capped when the A team took home the winners’ trophy and the B team finished runners-up.

In the main competition, the U12A team began the day with a very nervous 0-0 draw against Chase School from Malvern.

Next up were local rivals Lytham High and the first half was tight.

Hannah Turner scored in the second half and nerves were settled. Good defending from Annaleise Haslem and Jenny Dawson regained possession well and the second goal sealed the victory.

The final group game against a strong City of London Freeman’s School was again very close and would ultimately determine our final position.

AKS were grateful for a great save by Tara Williams to deflect the ball wide.

However, the London team equalised to make the final score 1-1, meaning AKS would Altrincham in the semi-finals.

Fine defending Annaleise Haslem, Hannah Turner and Beth Cosgrove, together with another Williams shutout, kept the game scoreless at the break.

Prisha Balakrishnan drove well down the right and Ruby Wildish converted a corner with a superb strike for the only goal.

Williams then kept Altrincham at bay to seal AKS’ place in the final against Mary Erskine School from Scotland.

Annaleise Haslem at the back was cool and mature, scoring the only goal of the first half. Mary Erskine threw everything at AKS in the second half and equalised in the final seconds, meaning the trophy is shared.

The Plate Competition was also shared between Rossall School and Chase A, with Lytham Third and Baines fourth.

Mary Erskine won the B competition, with the AKS B and C teams taking second and third places.

AKS B prevailed against their own C team 2-0 but then struggled against a skilful Mary Erskine team, who won 5-0 despite some fine saves by Mady Grainger and the best efforts of all the defenders.

The game against Chase B ended goalless , which left AKS needing victory in their final game against Chase C to secure runners-up spot.

A single goal was enough as AKS claimed second spot.

The AKS C team also performed superbly in a quality competition.