HC Knole Park’s U15 Girls headed to HC Den Bosch in the Netherlands over half-term to compete in the Holland Elite Hockey Championships. Invites were extended to the best junior teams across Europe, so it was a privilege for HC Knole Park to have been invited to attend! In an exceptionally competitive tournament Knole Park finished a very commendable seventh place overall.
In match one the girls were live streamed on YouTube which clearly brought out their best hockey as they stormed to a 5-0 win against Club an der Alster from Germany. Mackenzie Ward opened the scoring with a superb individual effort. Beating two defenders Ward then rounded the goalkeeper to make it 1-0. Celia Foster then doubled Knole Park’s advantage after good work from Charlotte Watkins down the right-hand side. Watkins beat five of the German defenders before squaring it to Bella Muñoz. Her deft touch took the ball through to Foster to finish. Alessia Turner then made it 3-0 at half-time after Ines Gascoyne-Day stole the ball in midfield and put Turner in. Turner beat the last defender before slotting the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper. In the second half Knole Park continued to dominate, and a Summer Knight-Thompson penalty corner was expertly executed, before Biba Mills latched onto a long pass from Watkins to beat the final player and the goalkeeper to make it 5-0.
In match two Knole Park took on the Czech Republic. In a very tough game, the girls had to defend a lot in the first half. Only conceding once was testament to Sophie Bernhardsen in goal. The second half the girls grew in confidence and by the end could have scored a couple of goals. Sadly, it was the Czechs who scored on the break to make the final score 2-0.
In match three, it was Belgium national bronze medalists La Gantoise. In the match of the tournament, both sides were excellent and enjoyed a really competitive 0-0 draw. Zofia Starr, Boadicea Cannon, and Rose Ellis excelling in defence. Amber Croll and Watkins were excellent in attack, providing several moments in attack, including combining to almost win the match on the final whistle!
In match four it was HC Heidelberg. A slow start for the Knole Park girls saw them go 1-0 down at half-time. But a superb second half saw the girls score twice for a 2-1 win. First it was Biba Mills who converted after a great run from Ines Gascoyne-Day. Cannon then scored the winner from a penalty corner. Summer Knight-Thompson tormented the German defenders throughout and Betsy Burden was unplayable attacking through half-back.
Qualification for the final four now came down to the final match against German champions Rot Weiss, Cologne. Rot Weiss were excellent in the first half and created several chances. Cannon and Lilly Holmes were like a rebound board as they propelled all the German attacks back away from the KP goal. Frustratingly scoring one to go 1-0 up at the break. The girls from Knole Park were brilliant in the second half however and were so close to equalising on a number of occasions. Ines Gascoyne-Day showing her class and quality at this level to create several chances. Sadly, the German goalkeeper was in inspired form, and it finished 1-0. Knole Park had to settle for fourth in the group and seventh overall.
Head coach Duncan Parnis said: “On and off the pitch it was an amazing experience for all the girls. It was such a pleasure to share the pitch with such talented opposition and represent England in a European club competition. Roll on 2023!”