Category Archives: Youth

Under 18 Girls – Runners Up Again

The large travelling support saw Rhydding get off to a flying start against last year’s runners up and favourites Reading, when Rafa Brandao-Lee opened the scoring with a rasping drag flick past their opponents’ international keeper.

The lead was short lived and Reading replied in clinical fashion when they pounced on a slow transfer in the Rhydding defence to force a penalty corner, which they equalised from.

Reading started to dominate the play. Despite last-ditch defending by Nisha Cant and Abi Prentice, Reading converted three more chances to lead 4-1 inside the first 22 minutes.

Rhydding’s captain Becky Hadfield moved into the centre of the defence in an attempt to stop the fast pace Reading attack, but it took time for her side to find any sort of rhythm.

Sophie Dale was key in Rhydding not conceding again before the break, while the tireless work of Fiona Crackles, Lucy Williams and Matty Jaggar in the midfield gave Rhydding hope.

Ella Mawson and Anna Pateman had chances late in the half but Rhydding generally struggled to create openings.

As Rhydding left the field for the half-time break, the relief was that the deficit was only three goals.

The second half saw a far more positive Rhydding take to the field. From the first whistle they pressed Reading and began to win possession deeper in their opponents’ half.

Brandao-Lee hit the post twice, Niamh Brennan had her shot saved before Kirsty McMillan won the ball from the Reading full back and played Lauren Ellwood in on goal.

The resulting reverse stick strike flew into the net and Rhydding were back in the game.

Despite the Yorkshire side having more possession and territory, Reading were still a threat on the break and repeatedly won penalty corners on their visits to the D.

Dale and the Rhydding defence held firm and began to find space out wide with Milly Fewlass-Jones, Julie Cumberland and Izzy Weir all attacking from deep.

Crackles began to show her class in midfield and kept the momentum going forward winning another penalty corner. Hadfield scored Rhydding’s third goal from the resulting well-worked penalty corner and with six minutes left the comeback was almost complete. As Rhydding pushed for the equaliser against a now less than comfortable Reading side that was digging deep to hold their lead.

The dramatic final minute saw another save from the Reading keeper and then a fast break to score their fifth and decisive goal with less than 30 seconds left.

The match ended 5-3 to Reading, but the Ben Rhydding girls, although disappointed, will be proud of their performance.

The silver medal is the girls second of a remarkable season. They narrowly missed out on the National Indoor title in January, losing by a single goal in the final.

Next season will see 12 of the 16 girls still eligible to play for the under-18s again, so there is optimism they can go one better next time.

Under 16 Girls in the Medals at Lee Valley

BEN Rhydding enjoyed a great finale to a fantastic season, finishing in the medals at the England Hockey National under-16 finals at Lee Valley Olympic Park.

Group matches against Reading, Marlow and pre-tournament favourites Surbiton were always going to be tough, but the Ilkley girls rose to the challenge.

After a tentative start against Reading which saw keeper Sophie Dale make a fine save and their goal frame rattled by a penalty stroke, Rhydding got into their stride.

They took the lead when Lucy Williams’ shot was parried into the path of Niamh Brennan who made no mistake.

Reading’s equalised early in the first minute of the second half with a well-taken short corner.

Despite the setback, Rhydding remained calm and built pressure through the good work of Imogen Sunman and Freya Bellamy.

A Rhydding short corner was despatched by Kirsty McMillan, timing her run to left post to perfection.

A 3-1 win was sealed when another short corner was finished in fine style by an Izzy Weir deflection.

Next up were a confident Marlow side and despite enjoying the majority of possession, Rhydding failed to convert their chances and saw numerous short corners unrewarded.

Marlow defended from deep, and frustrated the Rhydding attack, denying them time and space on the ball.

A scrappy game looked to be heading for stalemate until Williams saved the day with a well-worked short corner late in the game.

Six points in the bag on day one meant Ben Rhydding were guaranteed one of the top-four placings in the championships.

Defending champions Surbiton were the team to beat on Sunday morning, and Rhydding needed a win to qualify for the final.

In one of their best performances of the season, the Ilkley side gave it their all, challenging every ball and giving no quarter in the tackle.

Rachel Scott and Milly Fewlass-Jones defended valiantly, preventing numerous Surbition attacks down the flanks, as Ben Rhydding packed the middle of the pitch and limited their rivals’ attacking options.

Nisha Cant and Evie Malir marshalled the defensive unit confidently, distributing well to midfield. Surbiton’s frustration grew as time ticked away, and Ben Rhydding tried to take advantage of turnover ball to grab the all-important goal.

Brennan and Jemima Jaggar both going close. Just as a goalless draw seemed inevitable, Surbiton earned a late short corner with just 34 seconds left on the clock, and it was heartbreak for Rhydding.

With both sides guaranteed medals, Stourport and Ben Rhydding battled valiantly for third place.

Stourport’s early lead was soon erased with a Cant short corner. Rhydding fell behind again, only for Cant to equalise once more from another short corner.

The second half saw both sides visibly tiring after two days of competition, Alicia Cumberland stepped up with some crucial tackles to keep the opposition at bay and Hadfield was on hand to clear the lines when needed. Dale stepped in with a couple of top class saves to deny Stourport, and Ben Rhydding rallied again, surely thinking the win was theirs as McMillan found space in the D to turn and fire home with just minutes remaining. The last word was with Stourport. They capitalised on a momentary lapse in Rhydding concentration to drive down the right and equalise in the last minute.

It meant third place would be decided on penalty flicks, but it was not to be Rhydding’s day as Stourport’s strikers kept their cool to take victory.

Under 16 Girls – Looking to crown a great season

BEN Rhydding’s under-16 girls A and B created club history on Sunday March 26th when they both competed in the Yorkshire League play-offs.  This follows the A team winning through to the National Finals on April 7/8th at the Lea Valley Stadium.

Report from the Yorkshire Finals

It is the first time that both the club’s teams have reached the finals.


The B team (pictured above) underlined their improvement this season as they put in some great performances as they took on A teams from Wakefield, Harrogate and Thirsk in their group.

Julia Cumberland led her team confidently throughout, marshalling the defensive unit.

Lily Gazeley and Grace Murtagh worked tirelessly in midfield, closing down opposition and winning turnover ball.

Ben Rhydding’s forwards were never going to have an easy day out, but Darcy Hartley and Beth Day made good use of the opportunities to attack, ably supported by Eva Hanlon and Hannah Hall.

Despite not qualifying for the semi-final, the B team have had a fantastic season, and the future bodes well, with most of the team still under-16 next year.

Ben Rhydding’s A team faced a different pressure. They were the team to beat having won the league while remaining unbeaten.

They squeezed past Doncaster with a single goal from Kirsty McMillan who was also on target in the 4-0 win over Wakefield B 4-0.

It meant Ben Rhydding were in the semi-finals with one game to play. Their final group match saw them beat York 3-1 to top the table. McMillan (2) and Becky Hadfield were their scorers.

Ben Rhydding were soon into their stride in the semi-final against Thirsk.

McMillan slipped the ball home to give her side an early lead before unleashing an unstoppable top corner strike which Thirsk were unable to recover from.

They piled on the pressure and reduced the deficit with minutes remaining, but Rhydding held firm to secure a place in the final against Wakefield A.

These two sides have met so many times in recent years and produced a fitting finale worthy of this competition.

Despite visibly tiring after two hours of hockey in the sudden March heatwave, both teams gave it their all with an end to end display of competitive hockey.

Both sides saw short corners go agonisingly close and the two keepers made outstanding saves to keep their side in the game. This encounter was always going to go to the wire, and it was to the delight of the Ben Rhydding supporters that Lucy Williams was rewarded for her fine performances throughout the day with the goal that eventually secured the title after a neat interchange with Hadfield.

Ben Rhydding under-18s reach National Cup final at London’s Olympic Park

Ben Rhydding u-18s 2 City of Peterborough 1

A NAIL-BITING game ended with the gritty and tenacious Ben Rhydding side gaining a place in the National Cup Final against Surbiton at the Olympic Park in London next month.

Despite the backing of a large crowd, Ben Rhydding looked nervous and hesitant in the early part of the game and struggled to find any flow.

Skipper Will Tench was the only midfielder getting on the ball and he led by example throughout with dynamic and determined running.

Will Hatton, always presented a threat when he got on the ball in the circle but Peterborough were alert to the threat.

Both sides had their chances in a goalless first half. Peterborough forced a dozen corners but Rhydding’s well-drilled corner defence proved impenetrable and Alex Johnson in goal was magnificent.

With a key tactical change, Rhydding came out hard in the second half. Matthew Ramshaw and James Cutter began to dance through midfield more convincingly and Charlie Smith pulled the Peterborough defence around.

Mike Moore pressed intelligently and Sam Stewart made good connections. The beautiful creativity of Matty Sykes found Joe Cussons on an aggressive lead, drawing the foul and gaining a valuable corner. Young star, Ramshaw took this single chance and smashed it home to open the scoring.

Lewis Wild was outstanding in defence, and Tom Burton absorbed the intense pressure applied to him on the left and played with composure.

Will Bradley, who reads the game so well kept the flow going in the right direction. Olly Hopkinson Cook, such a fierce competitor, worked hard to disrupt Peterborough’s passing and Aaron Terry’s ruthless marking kept Peterborough’s winger out of the circle.

It was Cutter who delivered the most sparkling of goals to extend the lead. He scorched the ball into the roof of the net from a difficult angle.

Peterborough did not roll over and got a goal back. With seven minutes to go, they took their keeper off in an attempt to claw the game back but again, Johnson was outstanding in goal.

Rhydding should have made it 3-1 with a corner but tension got the better of them and a frantic final few minutes saw them hang on for victory and claim their place in the final on May 3.

PS The final was epic though Ben Rhydding lost to Surbiton on penalty shuffles after pulling back during normal time from 4-1 down to draw 4-4