Wembley Arena hosted the 2017 Super Sixes Indoor Finals, with what promised to be a fantastic day of top class indoor hockey.
The semi finals were up first with the top four teams from the men and women battling it out for a place in the afternoons finals. The women’s teams lining up for that finale spot were Slough, Sutton Coldfield, Bowdon Hightown and Canterbury. With Surbiton, Sevenoaks, East Grinstead and Reading aiming for the men’s title.
Slough took on Sutton Coldfield in the first semi final of the day in what was an excellent display of the intensity of indoor hockey.
Laura Puddle for Sutton Coldfield, dominating the filed and securing two goals for her side in the first half. Slough pushed back in the second half, eager to secure their place in the final, and a goal from Beth Merriman saw them take a step in that direction, but Sutton Coldfield were the stronger team on the day and with Harriet Ward finding a late goal and securing a 3-1, their place in the final was booked.
Bowdon Hightown took on Canterbury in the second of the women’s semi final. Bowdon having had a fantastic streak of indoor hockey this season, securing their semi final place early on and having top goal scorer Sally Walton bringing home 13 goals so far in the tournament they looked set to easily claim their final spot.
However Canterbury had different ideas on the day playing hard and fast and holding their defence tight. Early on Grace Bolsdon secured a 2-0 lead for the Canterbury side, with Tina Cullen for Bowdon only able to claim one goal back for her side.
Balsdon went on to secure a hat trick and Eliza Brett finding the goal for the fourth time put Canterbury firmly in the lead as the end of the game drew near. Sally Walton was able to secure a final goal for Bowden but this just wasn’t enough for the strong side who lost out 4-2 to Canterbury.
The men’s teams bought their A game to Wembley Arena, setting a fast pace and new dynamic to the game than what was seen in the women’s games, upping the excitement in the arena.
First up was Surbiton against Sevenoaks. Surbiton played a fast hard game, concentrating on the attack and focusing on the end result, pushing Sevenoaks constantly back into their own half and dominating the game. A hat trick from David Beckett, and further goals from William Marshall, Brendan Ceeed and two from Alan Forsyth were no match for the one goal from Sevenoaks Jack Valentine, putting Surbiton into the final with a 7-1 win.
The last semi final of the day saw reigning champions East Grinstead take on Reading. This was an exciting, fast paced and furious game. With both teams evenly matched and the passion for the win not faltering in either side, goals were matched evenly on both sides keeping everyone firmly on the edge of their seats right to the last whistle. But with goals from Ben Allberry, Josep Tallet, David Condon and Adam Secull they rose to a 5-4 win over the Reading side and a place in the day’s final.
As the finals loomed the crowds at Wembley Arena were treated to a parade from the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medal team. The welcome these ladies received in the stadium was just overwhelming with everyone on their feet, clapping and cheering. It is amazing to see how far hockey has come and the influence they have had on inspiring people to get in to hockey or come and support hockey events and they really have done their nation proud.
Lily Owsley: “We hope to inspire the next generation to achieve what we have achieved.”
These 31 women that went out to Rio worked so hard for four years, in what I am sure tested them mentally and physically, working harder than ever making the team the best it has ever been.
Kate Richardson-Walsh was very keen to make sure people were aware of just how grateful they all were for the support given to the side saying “ thank you so much, for everyone’s support, the hockey family really are amazing.”
Lily Owsley adding “ It’s been overwhelming, all of us have been trying to get into as many schools as we can trying to inspire girls to pick up sticks, we hope to inspire the next generation to achieve what we have achieved.”
And commenting on their hard work and dedication Alex Danson said “4 years ago 31 of us sat down, made the decision about what we wanted to do, stuck to it and all of our dreams came true.”
The women’s final saw Slough take on Canterbury in what was probably the most evenly matched game of the day, with neither side allowing the opposition through to their opposing goals. The teams fought hard, exhausting themselves to the final whistle and in the end it was goals from Dilly Newton and Georgie Whitaker that secured a 2-0 win for Slough and the indoor champions title.
Slough’s captain said after the game, “ A lot of hard work over the past six months has got us here and we are thrilled with the results. We love playing Canterbury, it’s fast and it’s furious and we are delighted to have them in the final, and a credit to them, it was a great game.”
Finally, after an amazing day of hockey we reached the last game of the day, East Grinstead against Surbiton for the men’s title. East Grinstead looked set to be the favourites to win this game but Surbiton had other ideas, in an amazing and thrilling game Surbiton dominated the pitch with the goals coming thick and fast, and although East Grinstead worked hard to secure some goals back they just couldn’t hold back the powerhouse of Surbiton making them the 2017 winners with a phenomenal 12-5 win.