Mansell magic captures crown for Clifton

Clifton celebrate lifting the Investec Women's Cup 2016

Buckingham 0 (0)

Clifton 1 (0)
Els Mansell 17 (FG)

A first half goal from Clifton striker Els Mansell was enough to give her side a 1-0 win over Buckingham, capturing the Investec Women’s Cup for the third time in their history. A year on from the heartbreak of their final defeat to Surbiton in the same competition Steve Rixon’s side were all smiles thanks to their Dutch striker’s game deciding goal.

Clifton started the game well, putting Buckingham on the back foot from the outset with a high intensity press and some quick attacking breaks. Chances were hard to come by, despite their fast start, with a Harriet Pearce penalty corner flashing just wide the closest they came in the opening quarter. At the other end Buckingham’s Alex Naughalty drew a fine save out of Caitlin Jeffries in the Clifton goal from a penalty corner, but the first goal was soon to arrive.

On 17 minutes, Mansell showed terrific awareness and technique, engineering some space in the circle before spinning and firing a powerful backhand past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0. Buckingham’s Phoebe Richards used her pace to threaten the Clifton defence as she sought to drag her team back into the contest but from a mazy run she could only shoot narrowly wide, ensuring it remained 1-0 at the break.

The second half was a cagey affair with Clifton sitting slightly deeper as Buckingham threw bodies forwards for an equaliser. Steve Rixon’s team almost scored a second from a penalty corner but Nicki Moss could only find the side netting from close range. Another Pearce thunderbolt was deflected over the bar as the game entered the final stages. Zak Jones’ team threw caution to the wind and forced a late penalty corner but despite a well worked move Amie Hone’s shot was blocked and Clifton were home and dry, ensuring skipper Aileen Davis lifted the trophy this time.

Having stood on the same pitch 12 months ago watching someone else lift the title, today, Clifton’s redemption was complete.

The match winner Els Mansell spoke to England Hockey afterwards, watch her interview below.