On Sunday, HC Knole Park’s U14 and U16 girls stormed to win their England Hockey National Championship titles on a memorable day at Lee Valley National Hockey & Tennis Centre in the Olympic Village, Stratford! Whilst the U14 Boys also picked up the National Plate title with a big win against Winchester to add to a wonderful day for Knole Park.
First on the bill in London were the U16 Girls playing against Beeston, Nottingham. Captain Lottie Bingham got the girls off to the perfect start from the penalty spot. Her penalty corner was saved, before Anna Faulstich’s rebound was then blocked on the line. Bingham coolly converted the penalty stroke to make it 1-0. Moments later Bingham scored again, this time rounding the Beeston defence to slot home. Bingham then completed her hat-trick inside an incredible opening 15 minutes with a brilliant backhand finish!
In the second half, Beeston came out with a more positive game plan and scored just after the break to make it 3-1. However, the girls from Knole Park continued to create chances and it wasn’t long before Bingham added her fourth of the match from another set piece. Olivia Breed smashed home a ferocious backhand strike to make it 5-1, before Faulstich scored from another penalty corner. Bingham completed the rout with a deft touch from a brilliant full pitch sweeping move involving Josefina Hippe and Summer Knight-Thompson, to make it 7-1 and ensure the title was coming back to Kent! This win crowns Knole Park’s U16 Girls as champions of England!
HC Knole Park’s U14A Girls, inspired by the U16 Girls victory earlier in the day had their own final against Beeston as well. Having won this competition last season, there was huge motivation amongst the squad to do the same again!
In a hugely dominant performance, the girls were superb throughout. Biba Mills opened the scoring after a brilliant move down the right-hand side involving Betsy Burden and captain Evie Smith. Isla Johnson doubled the advantage from close range, latching onto a rebound to push home. Johnson repeated the trick ten minutes later as she volleyed in a penalty corner rebound from a Boadicea Cannon strike. In the second half Knole Park continued to create chances and Celia Foster pushed home a brilliant move involving Ines Gascoyne-Day and Mills. Moments later Mills scored her second of the afternoon with a superb drag-flick into the bottom corner. Evie Whitehead then scored with a fantastic flick after Cannon had waltzed through the Beeston defence but couldn’t quite beat the goalkeeper. A small lapse in concentration meant Beeston scored with their only attack of the match, however Mills had the final say as she completed her hat-trick with another superb penalty corner strike to make the final score 7-1! This crowns Knole Park’s U14 Girls as National Champions for the second season in a row! Incredible!
Last on the bill on Sunday were the U14 Boys. Knocked out in the first round of the England Hockey Cup back in September the boys went on another fantastic England Hockey Plate run in a bid to defend the title they won last season. Awaiting them in the final was Winchester.
Isaac Dale got the team off to the perfect start with a goal in 17 seconds! Turning and eliminating from the centre, he dissected the whole Winchester side and slotted past the on-rushing goalkeeper to make it 1-0. Dale didn’t stop there as he then scored twice more inside the first ten minutes! Once from a penalty corner and again from open play. Winchester didn’t roll over and scored their own goal in the opening exchanges to make it 3-1. Just before half-time Dale made it 4-1 from another penalty corner, before Mackenzie Copp and Moritz Hippe scored from close range to make it 6-1 at the break. Copp scored twice more in the second half for a hat-trick. His penalty strike was an absolute rocket! Dale capped a fine performance with his fifth goal to make it 9-1. Winchester did score a consolation goal to make it 9-2, and the Knole Park boys had opportunities to add to their total, but it just wouldn’t quite fall for the eager attackers so 9-2 it finished. The boys were delighted to receive their gold medals to end a brilliant season.
HC Knole Park’s Director of Coaching, Duncan Parnis said: “Sunday was a phenomenal day for Knole Park. The quality of hockey that all three teams produced was amazing! For all our juniors to be in their National Final for the second season running was incredible! We lost the U16 Girls Final last season, so there was extra motivation there for some of the girls. And they definitely showed it with an amazing performance to take the long-awaited National title! The U14 Girls really wanted to win the EH Cup again after playing so well throughout this season. And the U14 Boys were very dominant in their final. It was a pleasure to be the coach of such fantastic players throughout the day!”