REPORT: Matchday 1 in Nottingham

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Ulster Hockey suffered four defeats in our opening fixtures as part of the 2023 Talent Academies Festival at the University of Nottingham.

We have sent a total of four teams to the tournament (2 boys and 2 girls) with each team set to play three games from Saturday to Monday.

For our opening fixtures, our sides faced off against the English Talent Academies of Sevenoaks and Cambridge with the boys getting underway first.

The boys sides both got off to a solid start with each game reaching the end of the first quarter at a 0-0 stalemate. However, both games sprung to life in the second period with our ‘white team’ going into the half-time break losing two one despite a goal from Carter McClure.

Meanwhile, the game against Cambridge remained close as it reached the halfway mark with the scores level at 1-1 after Ben Law drew our boys level.

As we entered the third quarter of the games, there was still plenty to play for and our ‘reds’ managed to keep themselves in touching distance against a strong Sevenoaks side. With chances at both ends, there was still plenty to play for as it remained 2-1.

However, the same quarter was a difficult one against Cambridge as a difficult five minutes saw the side concede a series of quickfire strikes as their opponents took control of the game and made it 5-1.

After another goalless period, both games came to an end as they were in the third stoppage with both our sides unfortunately coming out on the wrong end of defeats despite some impressive performances.

Next up it was the turn of the girls whose fixtures got underway at 5pm against the same opposition that our boys faced earlier in the day.

Both sides put in resilient displays in their opening 15 minutes of play, but ultimately went into the first period behind by a goal despite glimpses of an attacking threat at the other end.

That was followed by contrasting second quarters for the girls as our ‘reds’ got their first goal of the weekend against Cambridge through Ruby Johnston. However, it wasn’t enough to level the scoring as they went into the break 2-1 down.

Meanwhile a disappointing spell for our ‘whites’ saw them go into the break 5-1 down despite a goal from Grace McCool, but that period would later be eradicated.

15 minutes later and the girls were still only a goal behind Cambridge as trailed by a goal, whilst Sevenoaks extended their lead to 7-1 going into the final quarter.

That was when our ‘whites’ would play their best hockey of the day as goals from Emily Adamson, Chrissy Hopkins and another from Grace McCool saw them reduce the deficit whilst showing their attacking capabilities.

Ultimately it wasn’t enough to secure victory as both sides fell to defeat with the final scores Ulster 1 Cambridge 2 and Ulster 4 Sevenoaks 9.





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