Belper Hockey Club Boys Under 18s have capped a fine season by earning a bronze medal at the Under 18s Boys National Cup Finals.
The event was held at Old Loughtonians HC and the Belper squad was: Charlie Falkingham, Harri Johnson-Evans, Robbie Astin, Dom Bennett, Jacob Bullock, James Casha, Ben Clague, George Collier, Alex, Cox, Tom Farr, Chris Handley, Toby Hooker, Ben Hurst, Joel Mitchell, George Murfin and Alex Robey.
In the semi-final, they were drawn against City of Peterborough. Belper started nervously against a determined Peterborough team and never really found their form. A Peterborough goal midway through the first half did nothing to calm the nerves. Hard work paid off however and Alex Cox scored an equaliser from a penalty corner.
The Belper Boys were no more settled in the second half and went behind midway through. This time they were unable to recover and lost 2-1.
And so it was on the to the third place match, against Ben Rhydding, who had lost heavily to Team Bath Buccaneers (4-0) in their semi-final. Neither team wanted to go home without a win, and this was to be a high spirited game. Belper went ahead early on with a goal from Alex Robey, and looked fairly comfortable. Ben Rhydding held on and Belper didn’t make any further inroads until midway through the second half, making for a well-deserved 2-0 win, and the bronze medal position.
Manager Judy Hooker said: “Belper’s U18 Boys have had a terrific season, finishing third in both the National Indoor and Outdoor competitions.
“I have had the privilege of working with this group of players and their coaches for the last ten years. They are probably the most successful group in the club’s history.”
During that time, successes have included: U11 Mini Hoc National Champions 2007, U13 Mini Hoc National Finalists 2009, U16 National Championship runners up 2012, U18 Indoor National Finalists for the last two years.
Philip Handley, director of sponsors HSKS Greenhalgh, said: “It was a fitting send off for some of the squad who will be off to university in the autumn and have played junior hockey at Belper for many years and have enjoyed great success. The celebrations will live long in the memory! HSKS Greenhalgh have been proud to have supported the boys and wish them success in their future hockey careers.”