HC Knole Park’s U16 and U18 Girls both won their respective National Indoor Championships over the weekend to be crowned the best junior indoor teams in England! In what has been an incredible five weeks of tournament wins for Knole Park their junior sides have won the most important titles and are now officially the best in England!
The U16 Girls won all three matches in their group phase, before beating defending champions Repton in the semi-finals to set up a final with Cambridge City. In an incredible performance the girls won 14-0 and took the title!
The U18 Girls also won all three of their group matches in a very tough group. In the semi-final they faced Marlow HC where they secured a 5-2 win to set-up a final with Surbiton. A 2-0 win meant that the girls were crowned National Champions!
In the U16 Girls competition, Knole Park beat Alderley Edge 13-0 in match one. Josefina Hippe top scored with four goals. Anna Faulstich, Olivia Breed and Summer Knight-Thompson all scored twice and there were singles for Jessica Lewis, Bella Muñoz, and Lottie Bingham.
In match two it was a much tighter match against Wimbledon HC. Knole Park took a slender 2-0 lead into half-time, however the second half the girls were excellent as Bingham and Hippe both scored hat-tricks, and Breed and Faulstich added singles. This 8-0 result qualified Knole Park for the semi-finals with one group game to spare against Cambridge City. In this match the girls were once again superb winning 8-0. Goals from Breed (3), Bingham (3), Hippe, and Knight-Thompson securing the win.
In to the semi-finals and the girls would play Group A runners-up Repton HC. Repton HC were National Champions back in 2020 so despite their uncharacteristic results on the day, the girls knew this would be a tough match. But the Knole Park girls were only getting better, and they produced a stunning display of indoor hockey to win 8-1. Goals from Bingham (4), Breed (3) and Faulstich giving the girls the chance to play in the final. In the other semi-final Cambridge City managed to overcome Cheltenham in a close 2-1 game.
The Knole Park girls saved their best performance of the day for the final. A simply incredible solo effort from Bingham gave the girls the perfect start. The second goal took some time to come, but Bingham once again converted before Breed and Faulstich made it 4-0 at the break. The second half was an exhibition of high-quality indoor hockey as all the girls hard work paid off and Bingham scored 6 more goals, with Breed and Faulstich adding one more each, and Hippe scoring twice. The match finished 14-0 and Knole Park U16 Girls were crowned the best team in England! Incredible!! Bingham won the top scorer award with 19 goals too!
On Sunday it was the turn of the U18 Girls as they participated in their Indoor National Finals. In an exceptionally tough group, the girls knew that every match would be very difficult, but they were ready for the challenges that awaited them. First up was defending champions Repton HC. The girls produced an outstanding display of quality indoor hockey. Amelie Allen scored a superb hat-trick and Annabel scored the fourth for an amazing 4-1 win!
In match two the girls faced Bowden HC. The girls were once again excellent as they passed the ball exceptionally well to breakdown the stern Bowden defence. Allen was on top form again netting another hat-trick. Cheveley and Elloise Paler scored one each for a 5-0 win. With the win the girls had qualified for the semi-finals which removed all the pressure from the final group match against Surbiton HC. Surbiton also knew that a draw would be good enough for them to progress with Knole Park to the semi-finals so sat very deep and proved very hard to break down. But once again it was Allen whose penalty corner slammed into the backboard for a 1-0 half-time lead. In the second half Cheveley scored for a 2-0 win. With results going their way Surbiton also qualified from the incredibly tough group and defending champions Repton were out!
Onto the semi-finals were Knole Park faced a motivated and organised Marlow HC. Indeed, it was Marlow who took the lead, but just before the break captain Paler equalised. Marlow continued to push, and they were excellent throughout, however the Knole Park girls were calm and confident, and scored a run of four unanswered goals through Cheveley (2), Allen, Sasha Kelbrick. Marlow scored a well-deserved penalty corner at the end of the match, but it was Knole Park who were through to the final!
Waiting in the final was old nemesis Surbiton HC. Having played one another in the U12, U14 (twice!) and now U18 indoor final, the girls knew that this would be a different prospect to the earlier group match but were pleased that they had another chance to play Surbiton. The game started as most finals do with a few nerves, and in the fourth minute Allen scored an excellent goal – 1-0 to Knole Park! In the second half the girls were phenomenal; propelling all the Surbiton attacks and creating chances going forward. Allen doubled the Knole Park advantage after a superb run from strike partner Cheveley for an unassailable 2-0 lead which the girls held onto until the final whistle! The best U18 indoor side in England! Incredible scenes!! Allen won the top scorer award with 10 goals too!
On Sunday the U16A team travelled to Surbiton HC and the Knole Park girls got caught early on the break by a very focussed and determined Surbiton team, but that remained the only goal of the half despite mounting pressure from Knole Park and numerous attempts on goals and several penalty corners.
A great solo effort from Lottie Bingham as she carved open the Surbiton defence with a mazy dribble early in the second half levelled the scoring and made for an exciting end to end game. A penalty corner strike from Surbiton which was only half cleared allowed the home team to edge ahead again. Despite relentless pressing from Olivia Breed and some strong attacking runs down the right from Summer Knight Thompson the Surbiton defence held strong. Another impressive solo dribble from Bingham brought the sides level again towards the end of the second half, but it wasn’t to be Knole Park’s day as in the dying minutes of the match a quickly taken free hit resulted in a shot at goal and a well taken deflection to secure the 3-2 win for Surbiton HC. The sides meet again in three weeks’ time in the EH Cup.
The U14A Girls continued their fantastic season with a superb 12-0 win against St. Albans HC. Biba Mills opened the scoring from a penalty corner, before linking up with Evie Smith to allow Smith to score Knole Park’s second. The goals continued to come as both Mills and Smith scored twice more, and Isla Johnson scored the team’s seventh before the break. The second half was more of the same as Mills and Smith scored again for four each for the match. Ines Gascoyne-Day, Georgina Hadden and Celia Foster also scored to make the final score 12-0.
The Men’s 1st team resumed their league season on Saturday against Blackheath and Elthamians. The team started brightly and played the more ambitious hockey for the first 20 minutes; however, it was Blackheath who went 1-0 up after pouncing on a rebounded shot against the run of play. This goal gave the visitors the positive edge they needed to gain the advantage. The boys threw everything at their marking and tackling, and the match remained competitive throughout, with some outstanding reaction saves from keeper David Gough-Cooper keeping them in the game. Blackheath did score twice more in the second half before Knole park pulled one back from a penalty corner: a shot from Isaac Dale lifted off a defender’s stick and was smashed into the goal on the volley by Louis Van den Rijse. Blackheath were deserving 3-1 winners in what was an extremely positive experience for the Knole Park boys.
On Sunday the U14A boys played against local rival Oxted HC. The boys were determined to capitalise on their early dominance and were clinical in their finishing to end the first quarter with a 4-0 lead. Knole continued to have the lions’ share of possession, thanks to some energetic pressing from the attackers and tackling from the midfield and went in to half-time at 8-1 up. Oxted kept playing with great spirit and the second half was a much closer contest. Knole Park came away 10-1 winners, with goals from Isaac Dale (4) Moritz Hippe (2) Mackenzie Copp (2), Ignacio Muñoz and Will Galloni. A couple of the goals from Isaac Dale and Moritz Hippe were particularly impressive solo efforts. Overall, this was a very pleasing team performance from the boys.
So, it was another fantastic weekend for HC Knole Park! More incredible performances, more memories made and two more National Titles to add to the trophy cabinet!
This weekend our 1st team have matches against Meopham HC and play in the National League Indoor Division Two in Telford. Our Women’s 2nd team play Old Williamsonians, and the Men’s 1st team play Folkestone Optimists HC. On Sunday the U14A girls face Sevenoaks, the U16B girls play Tunbridge Wells, the U16A girls travel to Trojans, Southampton. The U14A boys will play Brighton & Hove HC.