Hampshire Cup Day 2016 was a hugely successful one for the elite ladies squads at Trojans. Both the Ladies 1st XI and U18 Girls won their respective Hampshire Cup Finals to claim the only two Cup titles for Trojans HC this season.
First up were the U18 girls who took on Andover HC to be crowned the first ever U18 Girls Hampshire Cup Winners. The girls were certainly not about to underestimate their opposition and approached the game in a highly professional manner. They started brightly with Leila Shaw opening the scoring with a simple deflection off a Maddie Pendle tomahawk. Freya Wilks made it 2-0 minutes later off a slick penalty corner routine.
The girls started to find their rhythm after this and had already opened a commanding lead when 14 year old Emily Harris finished off a superb team move to make it 4-0. Trojans then lost concentration briefly and were punished with two green cards reducing the team to 9 players. Andover looked to take advantage and pushed forwards seeking a way back into the game. Their hopes were dashed moments later when a clinical counter attack was finished in style by Maddie Pendle, who lashed home a reverse stick volley from close range. 5-0 before half time.
After the break Trojans continued their dominance with Emily Harris netting again on her U18 debut before Leila Shaw finished off the scoring with her 4th, a brilliant overhead take and shot. The game finished 9-0 to Trojans. Captain Pip Stewart was delighted with her teams professionalism and attitude, which was a credit to all the players involved.
Following the U18 final, Trojans U14 girls took on the host club, Aldershot, aiming to make it back to back wins. Sadly they were beaten 5-2 in what was a highly competitive game. The girls will no doubt come back a stronger group for the experience. One stunning highlight from the game was Trojans second goal, scored by Emily Harris. Harris, who had already netted twice for the U18s, broke into the circle and fired away a shot which was smartly saved by the Aldershot goalkeeper. Harris picked up the rebound and roasted two Aldershot defenders before calming dribbling past the goalkeeper as well and slotting the ball home.
Last of all for Trojans was the Ladies Cup Final. Trojans would be defending their title against local rivals Southampton, who have enjoyed a successful season winning promotion into Trojans 2nd XI league, South 3. The Trojans side featured 6 players from the U18 side who had won in such convincing fashion earlier in the day; Megan Struthers, Yvie Lock, Maddie Pendle, Freya Wilks, Georgie Atkins and U18 Captain Pip Stewart.
Once again, from the start, it was clear that Trojans were not taking their opposition lightly and were taking a highly professional approach to every detail. Despite this, the first 10 minutes of the game were highly contested, with Trojans looking nervous and Southampton trying to high press and force the pace of the game with quick self-passes.
Southampton had the first opportunity of the game after Sue Merry was dubiously awarded a penalty corner for running into Zoe Gittens flat stick. Robyn Creeden had no trouble dealing with the resulting strike from the top and Trojans cleared the danger.
Trojans seemed to be spurred out of second gear at this point and began to move the ball with more purpose. Freya Wilks began to take charge on the right hand side, eliminating players with ease and causing mayhem in the Southampton defence. The introduction of Jo Slade to the game seemed to help calm the team and Trojans started to create more opportunities. Yvie Lock had the best of these when she carved her way through the Southampton defence, only to be stopped by a fine save from the Southampton keeper. It wasn't long before the inevitable happened though. A period of pressure resulted in the ball falling to Nyssa Cole, who calmly waited for the goalkeeper to commit and then lifted over her into the empty net. 1-0 Trojans.
The first goal calmed any remaining Trojans nerves and shortly after, the second goal followed. It was worth waiting for. A quick passing move on the left ended with Georgie Atkins scoring a diving deflection, her first goal in a 1st XI shirt. 2-0 Trojans.
Southampton were now starting to look tired. Their earlier spell of energy and a lack of rotation from the bench started to take their toll. Trojans capitalized on this again when Lizzie Gittens broke into the top of the Southampton circle. Again the keeper came rushing out to try and save Southampton, but this time, Gittens simply rolled past her onto her reverse stick and fired home. 3-0 Trojans at half time.
After the break, Trojans resumed where they had left off. Southampton had no answer to the Trojans high press, repeatedly turning the ball over with poor in-accurate long ball hockey. Trojans themselves were starting to find their way out more and more easily. Megan Smith sliced the Southampton press open on several occasions with long raking passes and the Trojans midfield were starting to find space but again, Trojans could not make the most of it. This pattern continued with Trojans missing three golden chances before eventually, up stepped Lizzie Gittens for a second time. Gittens drove forward powerfully from the center, put the ball onto her reverse stick and lashed home another tomahawk to make it 4-0.
At this point, Southampton were really beginning to struggle with the pace and as they did, Trojans started to really open them up. Megan Struthers, Izzy Wood and Freya Wilks found space again and again down the right and left of midfield and won several penalty corners. Unfortunately the Southampton keeper continued her fine form and denied Trojans the 5th goal they so badly wanted. Her fine display seemed to spur Southampton into action and they broke a couple of times, bringing excellent saves from Trojans keeper, Robyn Creeden. Eventually Southampton managed to force a penalty corner, which they struck home from the top. 4-1 Trojans.
This only served to anger the girls who once again piled on the pressure. Once again, Trojans forced a penalty corner ,on this occasion won by Maddie Pendle. This time there was no mistake. Up stepped Nyssa Cole, who hammered home a thunderbolt from the top to make the final score 5-1.
The win see's the 1st XI defend their title of the best team in Hampshire for a second year in a row. 1st XI Coach, Chris Gittens had this to say on the performance "I asked the girls to focus on being the best team at the things that don't take talent today. I think that showed in their performance on and off the field. We were the best prepared, smartest, fittest and hardest working of the two teams and as a result we were able to relax and enjoy playing our brand of hockey. We thoroughly deserved to win and I'm delighted at the manner in which the girls achieved that. I'm very proud of how they have represented themselves today, its a fantastic advert for Trojans as a club."
Trojans will have a lot of work to do over the next year to repeat this seasons Cup success!