With one whole more training session than in the previous year the North West squad headed down to Nottingham looking to improve on our awesome 4th place finish from 2012. This year was going to be a bit tougher as the tournament was being used for World Games selection so international players were rife.
NW had drawn in a group with last year’s winners East Midlands, England U19, South Glamorgan and Oxfordshire. The first game was against the Welsh team, both teams failed to take an early lead both missing a penalty and it was clear that everyone was still waking up their muscles. Emma scored an awesome shot to put us ahead and with 2 minutes to go all we had to do was close out the game. Somehow we let our opponents back into it and they scored right at the death. 1-1 first game!
Next up was East Midlands who comprised of a few internationals and a few seasoned pros, all very tough and they took no time in storming to a lead. Big Dave scored an awesome buzzer beater but the ref wasn’t aware of how the shot-clock worked and so the goal didn’t count Dave did manage to get one back a bit later: quick thinking by Dan in the feed spun and won a penalty which Dave converted. Finished 10-1, we won’t talk too much about that!
Next up was Oxfordshire – not the University Lauren! – a team of similar level to us and all players motivated themselves for the game. It was a close game, we took an early two goal lead through Emma, Dave missed (and scored) a few more penalties. Oxfordshire got back into it, Fish scored a screamer, Oxfordshire levelled, Emma took us into the lead, we asked for a time-out, we weren’t allowed one, Fish scored again. Boom. Great win! Final score 7-5!
Next up was England U19s, not only younger than us but fitter too, Harriet needed restraining! They were okay, can’t remember the scoreline, think they just edged it.. only point worth remembering was that kid schooling Dave and going for the trick shot before being taken out from behind, that’s right Dave, not on my court!
So end of the group stage, time for a rest, no we were straight back on court after finishing 3rd in the group and up against the South West. Lots of subs were needed after battling against the U19s and the game was close all the way through! Goals from Thom, Dave, Emma, and Adam gave us a narrow 4-2 victory and we were through to the 5/6 ploy-off against London.
London were a strong team, made angrier through their main man having just been booked in the previous game by NW super ref Tom. A good battle ensued but London’s class showed in the end, I didn’t write the score down but we scored one!
Awesome day, all was left was the final which Dave reffed between East Midlands and England U19s, plenty of time for Dave to upset the national team to be a bit more with his decisions! Good victory East Midlands!
So 6th position (out of 13) for the NW, a great performance and one to be proud of! Thanks to everyone who came down for the day and especially those drivers and Tom for reffing!
Harriet Derrick (Hawks, captain)
Emma Higton (Warriors)
Sophie Laurenson (Warriors)
Jenny McGuckian (Warriors)
Rachel Swallow (Uni of Manchester, assist coach)
Lauren Taylor (Hawks)
Alice Wadkin (Uni of Manchester)
Dave Ansell (Manchester City)
Richard Dawson (Warriors)
Adam Luto (Lancaster Uni)
Kev Moss (Warriors)
Thom Partridge (Hawks & Manchester Metropolitan Uni)
Dan Wood (Lancaster Uni)
James McNaughton (Hawks)
Tom Parry (Hawks)