HOCKEY: St Neots talents book finals berth in dramatic style

The successful St Neots Under 16 Girls team. Picture: SUBMITTED

The successful St Neots Under 16 Girls team. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

St Neots Under 16 Girls came through two crunch clashes on the same day to book their place in the final stages of the England Hockey Tier 2 National Championship.

The local talents beat Bedford and Towcester during a demanding double-shift earlier this month to advance.

Bedford, who had beaten Towcester 5-2 earlier in the day, provided the first opposition and were brilliantly blown away 6-1 – the same scoreline by which they had beaten Saints in the reverse fixture.

A scintillating first-half performance ensured there was no repeat of that setback with a hat-trick from Lotti Knights helping Saints into a 5-1 interval advantage.

Anna Price and Summer Payne also netted before the break with Charlie Churms completing the scoring in the second period.

That success left Saints needing to score eight goals against Towcester to make progress in a match due to shortened in length due to the fixture backlog, but their opponents sportingly insisted the match went the full distance to give Saints the best opportunity possible to reach their tough target.

The goals soon began to flow with Payne and Churms both hitting hat-tricks and Knights adding a fine effort as Saints eased into a 7-0 lead with four minutes to go. That proved to be ample time for Eleanor Pybus to hit the crucial eighth goal and Saints added another from Churms for good measure to triumph 9-0.

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Saints will now host one of four national area finals at Longsands Academy on April 7 when they will do battle with Cambridge City, Bishop’s Stortford and Bedford.