Girls' team has great future

Dereham Girls U15 0, Chelmsford Girls U15 5Dereham's England Hockey Association Girls U15 Plate Competition run came to an end when they suffered a home defeat.

Dereham Girls U15 0, Chelmsford Girls U15 5

Dereham's England Hockey Association Girls U15 Plate Competition run came to an end when they suffered a home defeat.

The Dereham girls were competing and challenging from the first whistle to the last and certainly gave Chelmsford a competitive match. The scoreline flattered the Chelmsford team, who did not possess the individual skills of the Dereham side but were a little stronger on the ball.

Chloe Cushion-Swales at sweeper showed strength and tenacity in her tackling, and with left-back and player of the match Kim Hazell making saving tackles alongside her, they made it difficult for the Chelmsford forwards. Right-back Imy Crookes set up some promising moves down the right, with centre-back Beth Redpath making some timely interceptions. Between the sticks keeper Nat Grapes was kept pretty busy and made some fine stops and clearances that even the opposition bench applauded. Despite all the hard work of the defence, some of the goals conceded were down to sloppy marking and ball watching.

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Hannah Barnard was asked to play in an unaccustomed position at right-mid and excelled. Also in midfield, Bex Hazell got through a lot of work and Fran Leverett linked up well with Laura Bailey, who showed some lovely touches of skill. Kate Lavers continued her development with some neat work down the left side. Forwards Ellie Davison, Ali Waters, new cap Becky Shepherd and Gemma Pointer all made their contributions. This is a very young squad, with the youngest at 10, and several 11-year-olds, all selected on merit. The improvement they have made as individuals and as a team since September is quite phenomenal.

Squad: Nat Grapes, Chloe Cushion-Swales, Imy Crookes, Beth Redpath, Kim Hazell, Hannah Barnard, Bex Hazell, Fran Leverett, Kate Lavers, Becky Shepherd, Ali Waters, Laura Bailey, Ellie Davison and Gemma Pointer.

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