Felsted's U18 Hockey Girls are through to the National Quarter Finals of the Investec England Hockey Cup after a closely fought game against St Lawrence College.
Having beaten The Leys at the end of the Autumn Term, Felsted were through to the Last 16 and knew they were in for a tough match against St Lawrence; a team boasting a number of junior international players.
St Lawrence certainly started the game as the brighter team, forcing Emma Jones into making a number of high quality saves to keep the score at 0-0. Felsted then, against the run of play, broke forward and after a penalty corner scramble put the ball in the net, only for the goal to be disallowed. St Lawrence continued to play some impressive hockey and eventually the pressure led to their opening goal. Felsted’s heads did not go down, and the team began to grow into the game more and more as the half went on. The score remained at 0-1 to St Lawrence who looked confident heading into half time.
Felsted started the second half brightly and the willingness to work hard off the ball to pressure the St Lawrence outlet started to pay off. A fantastic through ball from Harriet Willmott put Sophie Bendon through with a 1-on-1 with St Lawrence’s goalkeeper. She kept her cool to round the goalkeeper and bring the score level to 1-1. Felsted continued to push, and shortly after their first goal, captain Amber Aitken played a precision pass into Beth Irvine whose quick to touch finish caught the goalkeeper off balance and gave Felsted a 2-1 lead.
St Lawrence looked to battle back but Felsted soaked up a lot of pressure through some excellent defending and willingness to work hard in the press. Emma Jones continued to make some top saves and Annabel Hills made an important goal line save to keep Felsted in the lead, but with just 1 minute left of the game St Lawrence broke into the Felsted circle and crashed an impressive strike low into the corner to level the score at 2-2.
This meant that the match would be decided by a set of five penalty stokes. St Lawrence took the first flick wide of the goal to give Felsted an early edge. Lea Wolf, Amber Aitken and Harriet Willmott all scored their strokes whilst Emma Jones made a fantastic glove save to deny St Lawrence’s third flick taker. This meant Sophie Bendon had a flick to win the game for Felsted. She kept her cool and slotted the ball home meaning Felsted will progress into the National Quarter-final. This means the team are one of the top eight teams in the country. They will face Wellington College on Thursday 7th February in their quest to reach the final four teams.