Last Sunday twelve players made their way down from the North West to compete in the inter-areas tournament in Nottingham. I say twelve, but really I mean three, the rest were making their way from Leeds after a pre-tournament warm-up tournament. Unfortunately the tournament had managed to take casualties and the twelve were only eleven (I’d say get well soon Tori but this is a week late so you probably have already..).
We arrived nice and early, the Leeds lot had brought along a rather yellow Rachel Swallow who’d been selected for GB Students who were playing in a rather tough group of East Midlands and South West. The NW was drawn against the West Midlands and our neighbours from Staffordshire and Crewe. The latter had withdrawn meaning our first game was to decide the group winner and who would avoid the rather scary looking East Midlands!
The game started faster than expected and we were soon behind, Adam scored to pull us back and Ben fired in another. The game slowly slipped away from us though and with just over a minute remaining we were 4-2 down. Pete knocked one back for us from distance before Big Dave slammed in the equaliser from downtown! Was enough time remaining for us to win a penalty and Ben to score! We win 5-4, woop!!
Showing us what we could have won the East Midlands with a few guests from GB Students made up a scratch team to give us another game. Nothing to note here other than the unorthodox free pass that resulted in Ben’s brother, Jonny, scoring underarm from the corner, nice!
So into the quarters, a tough test against the South West who’d warmed up weeks earlier with a friendly against Wales. In comparison some of our squad had met this morning. Not to worry as captain Harriet had been like 007 and scouted out their weaknesses. NW took it to them holding out in defence and coring some great goals. 6-3, easy. Ref thought he’d have a laugh, “It’s a draw, will play golden goal,” jokes!
Next up was a strong and organised Kent team, their shots fell from the start and NW morale was down. Lucy finally found her kit and came off the bench to win a penalty. Despite a claw back at the score it wasn’t enough and we were out of the running for top!
And so to the 3rd / 4th play-off against Norfolk. We held strong and gave it a good go but again they were just a bit too good. I don’t really remember much apart from Phil Buttinger’s crew from the sidelines making it a loud affair. We lost but went down fighting!
Awesome day, no medals this year but we will be back!
Massive well done to the whole squad and a thanks to Annie, Thom and Harriet for driving; and not forgetting Mike Brayne and Kev Jones who got us all in shape and picked the squad, we all owe you a pint, and everyone down in Nottingham esp Sam Whittaker who made the day great for everyone!
Harriet Derrick, captain (Manchester Hawks)
Victoria Kent (Lancaster University)
Lucy McConnell (Manchester City)
Rebecca McKenny (Lancaster University)
Annie Pinder (Manchester Hawks)
Steph Wood (Manchester Warriors)
Dave Ansell (Manchester City)
Adam Luto (Lancaster University)
Pete McGuckian (Manchester Warriors)
James McNaughton (University of Manchester)
Ben Nickerson (Manchester City)
Thom Partridge (Manchester Hawks)