Matthew Burns

Sedbergh Hockey Advance to National Cup Semi-Finals After Nail-Biting Encounter

Match report from Mr Mark Shopland, Head of Hockey
Sedbergh v Queen’s Chester 5-5 (AET)
Sedbergh won 3-2 on penalty shuffles

The Under-15 girls’ reached the last four of the Smiles National Cup after defeating Queen’s Chester in a rollercoaster match that put players, coaches and spectators through the mill and certainly added a few grey hairs!

Within ten minutes of the push back Queen’s, in front of a vociferous home crowd, had taken a 3-0 lead. Despite having the majority of possession Sedbergh failed to move the ball quickly enough on a very slow surface and were picked off by Queen’s front three who were clinical in converting their only D entries.

Despite the intimidating atmosphere and score line the girls found more composure in the opposition half and just before half time, Sedbergh were thrown a lifeline when Eddlestone led high and picked a fine through ball from B. Madden and calmly slipped the ball past the on-rushing keeper into the bottom right corner.

The end of half whistle arrived at just the right time and with a few adjustments to their style of play, Sedbergh came out of the traps brilliantly, moving the ball quickly and then driving through the inside channels with purpose and critically in the final third of the pitch, scoring three unanswered goals in fifteen minutes to lead 4-3. Bowker, Mason and B. Madden all latched on to diagonal passes from the right side and converted from close range.

Credit to Queen’s, who came back strongly and converted a fortuitous short corner after the ball ricocheted off a thigh. The girls looked to seal victory three minutes from time with another fine finish from B. Madden, after a fine high lead and roll out from Bowker but with the last play of the game, and well into injury time, Queen’s held their nerve to slot home from close range.

Five minutes of extra time saw chances for both teams before the onset of five penalty shuffles. After four a piece the score was 2-2 with Dowling and H. Madden scoring for Sedbergh. Up stepped B. Madden who rounded the keeper and with the goal at her mercy was blatantly tripped up by the keeper.  An agonising wait then took place as the two umpires discussed the course of action; would the miss stand? Would they rearward the shuffle? Or would a penalty flick be awarded? After what seemed like an age the shuffle was re-awarded which was coolly converted to take a 3-2 lead.

Sedbergh’s keeper, Ross, who had already saved two shuttles, then took centre stage as she forced the Queen’s fifth player wide and dived to close the angle forcing the shot wide and with it giving Sedbergh a semi-final spot and the amazing opportunity to play at Olympic Park. 

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