HOCKEY: Loughts Under-18 girls make history with cup win (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Old Loughtonians Under-18s girls have won the National Cup for the first time in the club's history
Updated 1:04pm Tuesday 1st April 2014 in Football
Old Loughtonians Under-18 girls have made history by winning the National Cup for the first time.
Isca were the opposition in the first semi-final and Loughts began well with Alice Wells drilling home after 17 minutes to capitalise on a bright start.
Ffion Thompson was in the right place at the right time to deflect the ball home after the break and double Loughts' lead.
Loughts could have added more, but ultimately saw the game out comfortably to earn a crack at National Indoor Champions Beeston, who had comfortably beaten Magpies 4-2 in the other semi-final.
The final was a tense affair with Beeston starting the brighter and Lucia Corry, Chloe Menear and Lily Gandhi all having to thwart a series of early attacks to keep the score goalless.
Loughts slowly began to find their feet in the game and won a penalty corner on 17 minutes from which Hannah Bloy forced home the decisive goal at the third attempt.
Beeston provided a real test of Loughts' resolve, winning a string of penalty corners as the game wound down, Loughts working hard to deny the National Indoor Champions an equaliser and win the cup.
Reflecting on another proud day for the club, coach Mark Menear said that the magnitude of the achievement was just sinking in: "I'm still not quite believing it. I'm not shocked, but I am very proud," admitted Menear, who paid tribute to the friendship of the group: "They worked hard for each other and are just really, really close. They would die for each other on the pitch."
Menear also acknowledged the role of the fringe players who had beaten Canterbury in the fourth round when first team players were unavailable.
This is just the latest triumph in a remarkable period of success for the youth section following the Under-16 Girls National Indoor title in January and the Under-18 Boys Cup triumph this time last year.