LBHC Junior Summer League – Finals Week
Sunday saw the Final & Play-off games for the LBHC Junior Summer League take place under warm and sunny conditions once again at Vandyke School.
The Gold Medal game was between the League Winners, White Eagles and the Second place Blue Falcons. The game started with a bang as the Blue Falcons scored from Finley Bell Taylor within 45 seconds. This shocked the Eagles who found themselves on the back foot again but thankfully, stunning saves from David Galloway ensured that the Eagles did not concede again within the first couple of minutes. With two minutes of the first period remaining, the Falcons scored once more from George Phillips. However, the Eagles scored within 30 seconds of the restart through Liam Field to ensure that the first period ended 2-1 to the Falcons. The second period was all about the Falcons as they pushed forward and dispossessed the Eagles regularly close to their ‘D’ and Finley could strike early at goal on at least five occasions over the course of the second period. George Philips also scoring a second. But the Eagles scored last in the half with the best team goal of the game with all players involved leaving Alister to tap in at the far post. This meant a 8-2 score line at half time.
The second half saw the Eagles press hard for goals with the same shoot-on-sight policy as demonstrated by the Falcons in the first half. However, a strong GK display from Megan Evans ensured that only one goal was scored by the Eagles during the third period from Sam Munday. During this time, the Falcons scored three times through Finley x2, and a single goal from Ella Keenagh. Thus, the third period ended 11-3 to the Falcons. The fourth quarter saw further pressure from the Eagles to try and reduce the score gap and although their passes were intercepted the Falcons were unable to convert to goals due to a more confident David Galloway in goal. Throughout the final period, the Eagles pressed for goals and were rewarded with a second goal from Liam Field. The Eagles pressed right to the and with a penalty corner undertaken as time expired, but although the Eagles were allowed a second chance, the Falcons ensured no further goals were scored. Thus the Falcons Won the Trophy which will be presented next week.
The more entertaining game was the ‘Bronze-medal’ match between the Red Kestrels and the Yellow Buzzards. The first quarter was a tentative affair with the defences being very strong on both teams preventing clear goal scoring opportunities. It was only in the last minutes of the first quarter that the Buzzards managed to score through Adam Baker to ensure a 1-0 score line at the end of that period. The second period saw the Kestrels pick up the pace and through some expansive play scored from a free-flowing move involving five players leading to Keira Fisher to open the Kestrels scoring. The end-to -end attacking continued to the end of the second period to end the half 1-1.
The third period saw the Kestrels start the stronger with multiple opportunities to score but Liam McKean providing a great GK barrier to ensure that a very tense game continued. It was only in the last minute of the third period that the Buzzards scored a second goal though a penalty corner from Izzy Jackson. This provided a grandstand finish of a fourth quarter with both teams attacking continually. With five minutes left the Kestrels scored their second goal with Keira slotting past an advancing GK. A frantic last few minutes saw many chances to score from both teams, but the Final hooter went to leave the game 2-2 at full time, leading to a Penalty Shuttle shoot-out between the two teams.
Players from both teams of the ‘Gold Medal’ game came over to watch the unfolding of the ‘best-of-five’ shoot-out. The Buzzards were first to go and scored. The Kestrels then coolly scored from their first shuttle. Both team allowed the opposing GK’s to stop goals being scored, but the third pair of takers scored, so after three shuttles each the score was 2-2. The Buzzards failed to score from their fourth attempt, and with the Kestrels scoring, the Buzzards needed to score their final Shuttle. After an early shot which was saved, there was just time to have a second attempt which went in before the whistle went. The Kestrels then had their final attempt knowing that a goal would see them win, but the Buzzards keeper saved, making the contest go to a sudden death shoot-out. The first pair of attempts were scored, but then both teams missed their second attempts. The buzzards scored from the third attempt, leaving the Kestrels to score to keep going. A stunning save from Liam McKean meant that the Buzzards won the shoot-out 5-4 after eight attempts each.
All medals and trophies will be given out next week before a week of Junior Players vs Parents and coaches.