Sunday 12th March, Pegasus Hockey Club remain Denman Shield Champions for 2023. Beating Harlequins Hockey Club 4-2, the match was filled with arial passes, short corners, and a few yellow cards.
Despite the rainy weather, the match was packed with excitement from the start with three goals scored in the first eight minutes. Pegasus won a short corner just one minute into the game, scoring the first goal of the match. Shortly after, Harlequins quickly got the ball to the opposite side of the pitch, also winning a short corner, scoring a goal to level up to their competitors. Pegasus, a few minutes later, scored their second goal. More long corners were won by both teams but neither leading to a goal. Pegasus was awarded a short corner near the end of the first quarter but no score came of it.
Leading 2-1, Pegasus continued their momentum into the second quarter, with a quick shot causing a metal clang from Harlequin’s goal post. Soon, Pegasus won another short corner, but missed. With a strong defence, eventually Harlequins made an attempt to score, the ball darting from several sticks, but leading to no goal.
In the third quarter, Harlequins made a comeback with a shot being deflected by the goalkeeper. Harlequins won six short corners within 11 minutes but were unable to convert their chances into goals. By the end of this quarter, Pegasus was leading 3-1. Two yellow and a green card were given to Harlequins players. Tensions were rising.
For the final quarter, the tension could be sensed, and it was clear Harlequins had to make a move. Throughout the match, crowds were shouting support to their teams. The rain had stopped, and everyone with their raincoats and umbrellas stood intently watching the game. Almost as soon as the game restarted Pegasus pushed hard to the opposite side end of the pitch, and soon won a short corner. With the short corner not scored, Pegasus were put on the back foot. Harlequins began to push hard, forcing multiple yellow cards to the Pegasus team. Due to fouls, the Harlequins won a short corner but led to no goal. The yellow cards meant the Pegasus team were down 3 players when it came to the last minutes of the match. With one minute left, Harlequins was able to score a goal, bringing the final score to 4-2.
Captain Ruth McCandless after the match said, “I think we took our chances very well, Belfast Harlequins are a hard team to breakdown but whenever we did what we planned and acted quickly, it opened up chances for us and the girls up front did very well. It was a very tense match from the word go, so we just needed to be a bit more composed, and that was tough with only 8 players on at the end. I’m glad we stuck to our plan and that’s ultimately why we won.”
Despite the challenges faced by both teams, Pegasus emerged as the champions, showcasing their incredible skill and determination. Pegasus Hockey Club has a long history of excellence in the sport, and their victory in the Denman Shield is a testament to their hard work and dedication. The club and its players are elated with the win, and look forward to continuing their success in the future. Congratulations to Pegasus Hockey Club, and all of the coaching staff and supporters that followed them throughout the competition.