https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brethockeyThe most memorable day in the club's 70 year history. With the most phenomenal support of 60 family and friends of the club who had travelled down by coach from Evesham for the final. Bretforton ladies hockey played in the national final of the over 45s investec tier 2 at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London on Sunday 29th April. Their opposition was Kingston upon hull.
The team line up was
GK: Vicky Watkins.
DEFENDERS: Blanche Surman, Sylvia Thomas, Sally Pritchard, Dawn Thatcher.
MIDFEILD: Julie hall, Lisa Workman (captain), Danni Cox, Rosemary Logan, Lucy Wilkes.
FORWARDS: Deb Slatter, Ness Dufty, Andrea Cole, Tess Lewinton.
Bret ladies had taken part in the over 35s final two years ago, in which they were running up and with the experience gained from that final they showed no nerves, just steely determination to win.
Bret made an excellent start attacking from the off with some superb play from
Dawn Thatcher and Julie hall on the right they really put the pressure on Kingston. Hall picking the ball up from Thatcher running down the right wing getting the ball across and finding a Kingston foot which ensued in a penalty corner. With no stopper on the pitch, Bret didn't make the most of their opportunity and squandered. Kingston was dangerous on the break. Their game relied on the long ball to the forwards, where they were awarded a penalty corner. A great save by defender Sylvia Thomas off the line kept Bret in the game.
With Bret on the break again and some determined play in midfield from Rosemary Logan and Danni Cox, put Kingston under pressure again with Bret pressing a hit out from Kingston, which was intercepted by Tess Lewinton, who with a one on one with the keeper just put her shot wide to get the opening goal.
With the forwards subbing every 7 mins, Ness Dufty and Deb Slatter partnered up front, leading Dufty to closely see her shot being cleared off the line.
During the latter stages of the second half, Kingston grew in confidence and had Bret slightly on the back foot unable to move the ball out of their own half.
A quick hit out from Thomas to Lisa workman, who dribbling down the centre, led to a pass to Slatter up front, giving her a shot being passed in the D by the keeper only for Hall to touch it over the goal line. A huge cheer goes up from the Bret supporters in the stand.
The half time whistle goes and everyone takes a deep breathe with a confident team talk from the stand in coach John Shaw keeps Bret heads cool into the second half.
End to end play, followed with both teams making attacks, however it a ball from the back passed out to the right from Surman to Thatcher onto Hall, with a pacey run down the right she picked out Rosemary Logan in the D who calmly flicked the ball past the keeper. The cheers from the crowd could be heard all over the Olympic park with Bret only 23 minutes away from the title.
However, Kingston was out to spoil the party, leaving only 5 minutes to pull a goal back when they hit the post. Putting pressure on the Bret defence. Great play from Sally Pritchard and the midfield kept Brets lead intact. Kingston had another penalty corner cleared by Thatcher, passed down to Hall, which was sent too hard for forward Lewinton to pick up.
With 4 minutes left, another penalty corner to Kingston was saved by Vicky Watkins in goal, making a fantastic save, pushing the ball onto the post. The tension could not be higher. Bret broke again and with some great passing by Logan, with a final pass to Lucy Wilkes who had an open goal to seal the win for Bret.
The stands erupted. An explosion of noise from the crowd realising there was no come back now for Kingston with only 2 mins to go!
5! 4! 3! 2! 1!!!! When the final whistle went, the realisation of the most momentous win for the club struck home, with tears of joy by fans and players alike.
The win struck a chord, not only for the magnitude of what they had achieved but also from pride felt, for the love and support shown for each other, but also for one of their team, Jane Wheeler, who unfortunately had not been able to make it to play in the final, due to recent a serious illness. Watching a live feed from her hospital bed, they had not only made the Club proud, they had done it for Jane.
The support for the team was overwhelming; no other clubs playing that day had that kind of crowd cheering them on. Bretforton are a true team in every sense of the word, each player putting their heart and soul into the match for the win.
Thanks also need to said to coach Julie Stowe ('stowie') who had coached the team to the final but sadly couldn't be there on the day and to John Shaw who stepped in at short notice to coach the team in Stowies absence.
A week ago our little village club believed in each other to achieve something extraordinary and became NATIONAL CHAMPIONS #O45’s.
There are many people we’d like to say a special thank you to that made this journey to Lee Valley possible:
*NN Cresswell for providing the supporters bus and transporting us safely.
*In2Print for the fantastic supporter posters and the amazing Bret Banner.
* Bayer for your generous sponsorship towards the players shirts
*Evesham Kayak Trust for the loan of the players mini bus.
*England Hockey & Investec for their hospitality & accommodating our little club.
*John Shaw, who at short notice stood in as our coach and did a fantastic job!
*Kingston-upon-Hull the very friendly opponents.
*Stuart Thatcher for being our offical photographer for the day.
Obviously there are many club members behind the scenes that make all this possible so thank you to all who were involved with all the organising. You’re all little stars.
And finally.....thank you to all our lovely LOUD pink supporters club. You rocked Lee Valley & didn’t England Hockey know it! You were most definitely our 12th player!
We hope we’ve inspired the younger generation & others to pick up a hockey stick and give it a go. #PinkLadies #hockeyfamily
LINC’s (The Leukaemia & Intensive Chemotherapy Fund ) remit is to improve the care of cancer patients receiving intensive treatment within Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Whilst a patient's individual life is put cruelly on standstill, the outside world continues to make it's demands. This is when LINC is there to provide help, care and support to patients and their families.
We would like to raise some funds to support LINC and in particular the Rendcomb Ward (the ward Jane is on) at Cheltenham General Hospital. One of LINC's main emphasis is on upgrading the Rendcomb Ward side rooms to at least make patients care much more comfortable whilst they go through intensive chemotherapy.
Your support is very important to us and to LINC and their patients. Without your/our generous donations LINC would not be able to continue to provide this level of patient care. All donations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Love the Bret Hockey Family. #proudtobepink
If you would like to donate, please use the link below....