SPALDING’S under-16 girls agonisingly missed out a place at the England Hockey national finals last weekend.
The team narrowly failed to top their group at the Midlands finals in Stourport, with Beeston edging them out on goal difference.
After convincing wins in the qualifying rounds against Peterborough HC (5-0), Pelicans (5-1), Rutland (7-2), and Leicester HC (3-2), Spalding went to the regional finals in high spirits.
The team of skipper Annie Dalton, Emma Dalton, Lily Dobbs, Maisie Dobbs, Hannah Greenacre, Di Bevan, Sophie Hart, Becky Warr, Rachel Perkins, Phelicia Moore, Tamika Providence, Beth Devey and Katie Gray got off to a great start against hosts Stourport.
A slotted first-half finish proved decisive for the girls, who defended superbly after the break to secure a 1-0 success.
Spalding found it tougher going against a clinical Beeston side though, suffering a 4-1 reverse. Annie Dalton grabbed their consolation goal in the dying minutes.
But with Stourport defeating Beeston, a big win against Blue Harts in their final game would have seen Spalding progress.
Showing tremendous team spirit, Gray notched an early opener – and three further goals made it 4-0 at the interval.
They could only add one more in the second half though, with a 5-0 winning margin not enough to deny Beeston – who had ex-Spalding player Naomi Smith among their ranks.