Bretforton Ladies savour national glory again - The Evesham Observer

Bretforton Ladies savour national glory again

Evesham Editorial 15th Oct, 2020   0

BRETFORTON Ladies over 45s are celebrating after being crowned national champions for a second time.

The Pink Ladies were once again underdogs heading into the England Hockey National Championships over 45s final against renowned Greater Manchester outfit Bowdon Hightown, but the Vale side held their nerve to secure a thrilling 3-2 victory.

After being runners-up in 2019, the ladies fought hard to regain their crown with victory in the final – a highly impressive fourth appearance in the showpiece event in five years.

Captain Lisa Workman lifts the trophy.

With the championships delayed due to Covid, Bretforton eventually secured their place in this year’s final with a thumping 6-2 defeat of Sonning Legends in the last four.

This year’s finals were held at Nottingham Hockey Centre and the teams met to do battle on a blisteringly hot day.

With both teams gunning for glory, it was a hard-fought first half as each created chances.

Bretforton’s midfield was much the stronger, however, and great teamwork saw the ball make its way to Deb Slatter who made no mistake with the finish to put Bretforton 1-0 up.

Spurred on by this, Bowdon fought back and made it 1-1 shortly before half-time.

Then the game changed in dramatic style. Virtually from the pushback, Tess Lewinton flew into the opposition D and unleashed an absolutely stunning strike into the top corner of the net to restore Bretforton’s lead.

Soon afterwards, Slatter put the Pink Ladies in dreamland when she powered into the D and outfoxed the Bowdon keeper before slotting home to make it 3-1.

With more than 30 minutes still on the clock, Bretforton knew they would be worked hard in defence and this proved to be the case.

Bowdon pulled a goal back to make it 3-2 with ten minutes to go and also found the back of the net again, only for the ‘goal’ to be disallowed due to an earlier infringement.

Bretforton were defending for their lives with Bowdon earning themselves many short corners – one of which was saved in the dying moments by Vicky Watkins who superbly blocked a fierce near post shot.

Bretforton keeper Vicky Watkins makes a superb save.

Bretforton pulled through and against all the odds were crowned champions for another year. This could not have been achieved without the unerring support of their management team and supporters, without whom the squad would never make it through these tournaments.

Special mention must go to Sue Barker-Wheeler, Heather Carr, Marion Icke, Stuart Thatcher, Rebecca Denyer and Lynton Garner.

Earlier in the competition, Bretforton secured a 6-0 win over Stourport before beating Clifton Robinsons on penalty flicks after a 3-3 draw and they then defeated Kettering 2-1.

The team featured captain Lisa Workman, keeper Vicky Watkins, Dawn Thatcher, Julie Hall, Andrea Cole, Deb Slatter, Sophie Hamilton, Rosemary Logan, Tessa Lewinton, Dani Cox, Sam Witheford, Gilly Wright, Blanche Surman, Martine Verweij, Sarah Cook and Sylvia Thomas.

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