Brilliant Balsdon secures finals berth

Canterbury celebrate

Bowdon Hightown 2 (0)
Tina Cullen 23 (FG)
Sally Walton 40 (PC)

Canterbury 4 (2)
Grace Balsdon 9, 17, 34 (PC, PC, PC)
Eliza Brett 25 (FG)

A hat-trick of penalty corners from Grace Balsdon secured Canterbury’s spot in the Super 6s Final, despite a valiant effort from Bowdon Hightown.  

Canterbury controlled the game in the opening stages, dominating possession. However, it was Bowdon Hightown who had the first attempt on goal. Tina Cullen rounded goalkeeper Helen Fagg and forced a penalty corner but it was comfortably cleared by the Green and Whites.

Canterbury continued to bide their time and were soon rewarded for their efforts in the ninth minute. Balsdon fired an unstoppable drag flick into the top corner, leaving Amanda Ferebee with no chance.

Sarah Kerly almost doubled her side’s lead when she caught the defence napping, stealing possession in the circle, only for her shot to cannon off the post. Ed Welch’s team didn’t have to wait long for their second though. Balsdon produced a carbon copy of the previous penalty corner routine, much to the despair of the Hightown fans.

Canterbury's No4 was inches from completing her hat-trick just before the break but this time Ferebee came out on top, deflecting the powerful drag flick onto the crossbar. 

Bowdon Hightown restarted the second half quickly and immediately halved the deficit through Cullen. Sian French picked out the unmarked No10 in the circle and she made no mistake in converting first time. Within two minutes the two goal cushion was restored though as Canterbury attacked in numbers, with the resultant loose ball falling to Eliza Brett who slammed home.

The Seahorses came close through a succession of penalty corners, most notably when Sally Walton had her shot picked off the line. A resilient Canterbury defence stood firm though and when they earned their own penalty corner, the game was made safe as Balsdon completed her hat-trick. The No4 this time went low to the keeper’s right to leave the score at 4-1 with six minutes left on the clock.

In a last ditch attempt to make the final, Bowdon Highdown switched to six outfield players. Walton grabbed a late consolation goal from a penalty corner but it was too little too late and Canterbury joined Slough in the Super 6s final at 16.00 this afternoon.   

Hat-trick hero Grace Balsdon spoke to England Hockey after the game.

You can watch the rest of the semi-finals and the finals of the Super 6s via the England Hockey Facebook page.