Con­tenders dream­ing of a Wembley fairy­tale

Jack Miller analy­ses the four clubs on the search for women’s in­door glory this week­end

The Hockey Paper - - SUPER 6S -

CAN­TER­BURY ON THE hunt for a first in­door ti­tle af­ter miss­ing out in last year’s de­cider, Can­ter­bury know how it feels to taste de­feat at the fi­nal hur­dle and will be de­ter­mined not to miss out this year.

With cap­tain Sarah Kerly guid­ing her troops and con­tribut­ing the bulk of her side’s goals, she will be vi­tal to the Kent side’s chances of lift­ing the tro­phy at Wembley.

With a rel­a­tively young side though, Can­ter­bury have time on their side and could mount fur­ther charges at the in­door crown in com­ing years. SLOUGH TOP of the pile dur­ing the round robin phase, Slough ac­tu­ally only won the same num­ber of games as the other qual­i­fiers – five.

So close was the com­pe­ti­tion, only their fi­nal win over bot­tom­side Buck­ing­ham sealed their place at Wembley.

But with one loss in eight round robin matches, Slough are clearly hard to beat and by spread­ing their strikes around they won’t rely on one goalscorer in their hunt to claim a 14th in­door ti­tle.

Their 23 goals con­ceded was the equal-best of the nine clubs dur­ing the round robin fix­tures. BOW­DON HIGHTOWN AN­OTHER team with a proud tra­di­tion of in­door hockey, Bow­don Hightown have amassed 11 in­door tro­phies in the com­pe­ti­tion’s his­tory – with three of those com­ing in the last nine years.

East Grinstead took their crown last year so they will be de­ter­mined to get it back and, with the ex­pe­ri­ence of Tina Cullen, Sally Wal­ton, Amanda Fere­bee, Lisa Gar­butt and Michelle Lip­trot in their vet­eran-filled side, there are few bet­ter equipped to cope with the Wembley pres­sure-cooker.

They found the net 39 times dur­ing their eight matches, giv­ing them the best at­tack­ing record. SUT­TON COLD­FIELD IT’S been 30 years since Sut­ton Cold­field took their one and only in­door tro­phy back to the West Mid­lands.

It’s also been four years since they last made it to the Wembley stage, but with a nail-bit­ing win over Bow­don Hightown se­cur­ing their place in the last four, they showed they’ve got the heart for a fight.

Their rel­a­tive lack of goals may be a con­cern though, as they fin­ished the round robin phase as the only team in the top seven without a pos­i­tive goal dif­fer­ence.

PIC­TURE: Andy Cray­ford

Wembley, Wembley: Clock­wise from top left, Can­ter­bury, Slough, Bow­don Hightown and Sut­ton Cold­field

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