HIGH Wycombe Hockey Club’s first team might be having a season to forget, but their juniors have picked up where they left off last season with both the boy’s and girl’s U18s progressing to the National Indoor Finals.
The boys are defending champions after taking both the indoor and outdoor crowns last year, while the girls will be entering unchartered territory after failing to qualify last season.
The girls booked their place in the finals on January 19 and 20 with a strong showing in Hazslemere, Surrey on Sunday.
In a six-team round robin format, they won their first four matches before securing their place in the finals with a draw in their final match.
Eastcote and Wimbledon were beaten 5-1 and 4-0 in their opening games, before they ended Surbiton’s perfect record in the tournament with a hard-fought 3-2 victory.
Horsham were then dispatched 3-1 in their penultimate match, meaning they only needed to draw their last game against East Grinstead to be sure of qualifying.
With a minute remaining and the score locked at 0-0, Wycombe looked home and dry.
But they were dealt a hammer blow as East Grinstead broke the deadlock with just 60 to go.
Wycombe’s response was instant though.
Direct from the restart they poured forward and within 20 seconds had scored the equaliser that confirmed their place in the Birmingham finals.
The boys followed them a few hours later, although they didn’t get it all their own way in Croydon.
Despite fielding five of the team that won the title last season, they could only draw 2-2 with East Grinstead in their opening match.
A 3-1 victory over Trojans in their second game took them through to the semi-finals though, where their experience counted as they ran out 2-0 winners.
That set up a final against Havant, they team they beat last year to lift the trophy.
However, the tension was taken out of the match within 90 seconds as Wycombe surged into a 2-0 lead.
They didn’t let up after that and powered along to a 6-1 victory to keep their title defence very much alive.
The U18 girls: Immy Brown, Amy Burton, Campbell Ellie, Vicky Fallan, Abbey Griffiths, Grace Hill, Meghan Howitt, Hannah Rooney, Zoe Tricker.
The U18 boys: Dan Andrews, Matt Bilsland, Justin Brown, Nick Carter, Ryan Foggoa, Tom Gray, Tom Kemp, Will Needham, Roberto Parmegiani, Ben Reeves, Liam Sanford