Match report from Jackie Ashley, who also played in the final :
Clitheroe & Blackburn Over-40s Master Hockey Cup team travelled to Oxford for the Final of the Womens’ Over 40s National Championships final against Surbiton, after beating Sheffield Hallam in their semi-final 5-0 a couple of weeks earlier.
The team, after an early start, were not confident as Surbiton were rumoured to have some ex-England players - as well as being a massive club with over 800 members! We were definitely the underdogs.
The game started very much in our own half with our defence being pinned back, but we rode out the storm with defence working as a solid unit to keep out their attacks with a couple of goal-line clearances and great saves by our goalkeeper to keep us in the game.
5 minutes before half time, Surbiton were awarded a penalty corner which they subsequently went on to score so we went into the interval 1-0 down.
The second half started with Surbiton adding to their tally with a quick goal which caught us on the back foot (2-0). However, we then began to dominate play in our attacking half with Surbiton seeing very little of the ball and they had to defend attack after attack from us.
Ally O’Donnell was beginning to monopolise the play in the centre of the pitch linking up with the wings to devastating effect, which resulted in a magnificent reverse stick goal into the top corner from her (2-1). This definitely rattled Surbiton who were starting to make scrappy passes which we were beginning to intercept all over the pitch.
We were awarded a short corner due to a foot in the D and Ali O’D again made no mistake bringing us level (2-2).
We were now sensing victory with our defence having very little to do in the last 20 minutes of the game.
5 minutes from time Ali completed her hat-trick after an attack, which involved virtually the whole of the team, put the game to bed - or so we thought!
2 minutes from time, Surbiton mustered an attack and were awarded a penalty corner 23 metres out as our player was alleged to have committed an offence to stop a goal scoring opportunity (extremely harsh!) However, fair play to Surbiton, they scored from this opportunity to take the game to penalty flicks!
5 takers decided and Clitheroe & Blackburn elected to go first. 4 out of 5 penalties from both teams were scored. The same 5 players had to take the next stage of flicks taking it to sudden death. Surbiton matched us neck and neck to take the flicks to a third round of sudden death flicks. Our flick takers kept their cool when they all stepped up for the third time again sudden death until the 4th flick of this cycle – we had the upper hand and Jen Smith in goal saved the surbiton penatly to give Clitheroe Blackburn Northern a 13-12 win
Clitheroe and Blackburn won in the most brilliant fashion – they held their nerve and achieved a deserved win.
A real team performance and there were lots of players missing who had got us to the final too.
Pictures : Top: The Team Bottom : Ali O`Donnell and Captain Rachel Box
This is a great summer win, and the Hockey Club looks forward to a good start with the oncoming Season.
Currently the club run 4 Ladies Teams 1 Mens Team and Junior Teams. Training night is on Wednesday
at the Northern Sports Club Astro pitch, off Pleckgate Road, Blackburn. Full details contact the Coaches :
Jez on 07825771762 or Hannah 07855337708. New umpires always welcome.