The England U16 Girls hockey squad played Scotland’s Emerging U17 squad in a series of two training games in mid-June in preparation for their summer tournaments.
Wearing black ribbons and armbands in memory of former England Age Group player, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, the squads observed a minute of silence to mark the tragic events in Nottingham earlier in June.
U16 Girls Head Coach Don Vinson addressed the players about Grace’s competitive spirit and passion for the game – as well as her relentless desire to score goals.
The squad included two Sevenoaks Hockey Club players, Emily Barrett, who scored three of the teams eight goals and Ruby Massey, who vice-captained the squad.
A very young England U16 Girls squad kicked off their campaign with an erratic and sometimes chaotic game. Going 1-0 up through a well-taken penalty corner in the first minute, England seesawed between attacking with intent and allowing Scotland back into the game.
The scoreline reflected this as Scotland equalised twice. The difference proved to be two goals from Biba Mills. The first was scored was a penalty corner drag flick and a well-taken open play goal through her tenacious goal hunting and effective positioning. The precise finishing of Emily Barrett accounted for the next two goals. The first was another powerful penalty corner and a further decisive touch on the back post. The game finished 4-2 with the England girls determined to put in a better performance the next day.
The second game started like the first with a quick England goal, after Cecily Moorhead delivered a beautiful ball across goal for Izzy Yonge to finish.
A second followed from Barrett after she converted a penalty corner with a potent drag flick. Following the previous day’s pattern, Scotland duly equalised with a penalty corner and a field goal from a swift counterattack, and England needed to reassess and sharpen up their ball handling.
Continuing her excellent form that saw her named Player of the Series, Mills finished a circle scramble with a forceful volley into the netting and then found her second after converting a penalty stroke, having been taken down by some frantic goalkeeping.
Sevenoaks Hockey Club commented on the girls England success on social media, saying: “Congratulations to Emily and Ruby who, with their U16 teammates, won both their matches against Scotland! Ruby vice-captained the squad, and Emily scored 3 of the 8 goals! Well done girls!”