Hockey: Doncaster boys book national finals slot
Doncaster Hockey Club U18s booked their place in next month's England Hockey Indoor National Finals after an impressive tournament outing in Bradford.
The boys side finished second in the northern round of the competition at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre, winning four and drawing one of their six matches on the day.
“The objective was to qualify for the National Finals, which we did,” coach Ali West said.
“The boys improved throughout the tournament and at times played some outstanding indoor hockey.
“We now need to focus on the finals weekend.”
Having been crowned champions last year, Doncaster went into the tournament with high hopes of qualification.
And they started in superb fashion, recovering from going a goal down to win 3-2 against Bradford.
The second game pitted them against Bowden and England U18 international James Massarelo.
But Doncaster pushed them close with Massarelo in goal pulling off an athletic stick save of a Dan West shot, helping Bowden hold onto a 3-2 advantage.
The side needed a lift after the defeat and struggled to raise their game early in their third match against Thirsk, falling 2-0 down inside the first ten minutes.
They clicked into life however and recovered for a 3-2 win.
Doncaster made their experience count to beat newcomers Sheffield University Bankers 5-0 before twisting the knife on short-handed York in a 7-3 triumph.
The final game pitted them against North West outfit Timperley and Doncaster went 2-0 up inside the first ten minutes.
Timperley pulled a goal back, shortly after Alex Rudkin was given a green card two minute suspension for a loose tackle.
Within a minute it appeared the game was running away from Doncaster as goalkeeper Martin Rose received a yellow card five minute suspension for a technical offence outside the circle.
With only five players on the pitch for Doncaster, Timperley converted the resultant short corner to equalise at 2-2. Doncaster defended valiantly in the later stages to earn a draw which secured second spot.
They will now take part in the National Finals on the weekend of January 20 in Telford.