Ben Rhydding’s U16 girls have become the first girls colts side in the club’s history to qualify for the National indoor finals. At the North championships in Bradford on Saturday, the Ilkley side took on opposition from across the North of England, needing a top two finish in order to qualify for the National finals in January.
Having had their first taste of indoor competitive hockey in last season’s competition, Ben Rhydding showed no sign of nerves as they notched up a 4-1 victory against Brooklands in their opening fixture, followed up with a confidence-boosting 4-0 victory over Thirsk.
Local rivals Wakefield always prove tricky opposition, and an end to end game saw both sides go close to scoring, but it was Ben Rhydding who took the points with a smartly taken drag flick from Evie Malir.
With maximum points from three games, Ben Rhydding were the team to beat, and Bowden piled on the pressure early on, equalising Rhydding’s opener and looking dangerous on the break. Ben Rhydding soon regrouped, however, and were quickly back in charge, running out 4-1 winners with Bowden unable to respond.
With national qualification all but secured, Ben Rhydding did not ease up, and ensured they finished the day on maximum points with victories over Huddersfield and Doncaster to top the group as North Champions.
Goalkeeper Sophie Dale, supported by a defensive unit of Malir, Becky Hatfield and Rachel Scott conceded just three goals in six games, whilst Rhydding’s strikers Nisha Cant, Izzy Weir, Kirsty McMillan and Lucy Williams proved unstoppable, notching up 25 goals scored.
Ben Rhydding now look forward to the National finals in Wolverhampton on 21/22 January.