Ashford juniors recreate historic Rio Olympic Final

Ashford hockey juniors GB
We all remember where we were on that historic night two years ago when Great Britain women made history beating Netherlands in penalties to claim the Olympic Gold medal. 

Fast forward and we a just weeks out ahead of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, hosted in London this summer. Clubs across the country have been embracing World Cup fever hosting an array of events under the Your World Cup campaign, from Back to Hockey to family World Cup themed fun days.
Ashford hockey club decided they would recreate that special night in Rio and give the juniors at the club a day to remember. On Sunday 10th June two sides of 12 – 16 years olds took to Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre as they battled it out as Great Britain v Netherlands. 

The squads of sixteen were mixed and the game, which was played as four 15 minute sections (the same as in the final in Rio), was excellently umpired by two National League umpires. There was walkouts, anthems, handshakes, mascots and a loud crowd of family and friends to roar the sides on! Team Managers Claire Brant (NED) and Ian Parker (GB), both of whom coach AHC Junior sides.  

Ashford hockey juniors web

Ashford president, Lynne Morgan shared with us what went down on this sunny Sunday, could Great Britain juniors come away champions? Or could the Netherlands of Ashford cause an upset?

‘It was played at a good pace and with lots of noise coming from the stands. It was GB who dominated the first quarter though, with Alex McCelland opening the scoring for GB with a fine solo run and then notching a second by deflecting in a shot just before the first break. 

‘The crowd were joined shortly after the start of play by Olympic GB, Gold and Bronze hockey medallist Helen Richardson-Walsh, who played and scored in the Rio final. Helen was impressed by the standard of play and good team work being shown by both teams. Both goalkeepers Jack Barber (GB) and Daniel George (NED) were playing well and thwarting both sides’ attempts at goal. The Dutch side were controlling play in the second quarter, but were unable to convert the chances they were creating into goals.’

‘The third quarter saw the Dutch again dominating long periods of play a bit like the final itself, only for Harry Parker (GB Captain), to notch a third goal for GB, rather against the run of play, but the Dutch continued to press forward. Although the score stood at 3-0 to GB, there was still all to play for in the final quarter and Captain of the Dutch side Flick Lawton managed to pull a goal back early on to make the score line 3-1. 

‘Encouraged by their Team Manager Claire Brant, the Dutch side kept going forward and went very close to scoring a second goal, and had wave after wave of attack and nearly pulled a goal back.  It was not to be though and as the final whistle blew, GB duly won another exciting final, this time without the tension of penalty shuttles.’

HRW Your World Cup Ashford HC

All the players, Team Managers and the two umpires were duly presented with medals by Helen Richardson-Walsh, along with miniature sticks for the Players of the match who were Lily Imi for GB and Pierre Henry-Ndangan for NED. 

AHC Chairman Ian Jenkins rounded the day off with a short speech after an historic day in the history of the Club and one which the players, parents and supporters will not forget. Thanking every one involved to make it happen.  

It certainly sounds like the future is bright for Ashford hockey club - they have certainly got into the World Cup fever! 

Photos by Steve McCarthy 
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