Norfolk U14 hockey girls travelled to Ipswich School Sports Centre at Rushbrooke near Ipswich for the JAC County Finals 2017.
In the squad of 18 were four Pelicans: Poppy Beales, Ellie Padmore, Emily Pluck and Izzy Pope.
First up were Bedfordshire and a strong team performance saw a comprehensive 6–0 win with goals included from Pope (x2).
Then came Herts and Norfolk’s passing hockey and strong running saw them take a 3-0 lead with goals from Pope (2) and Beales only for Herts to come back but Norfolk hung on for a 3-2 victory.
Third game was against Suffolk. Norfolk began to dominate but the chances just could not be taken and in one of their rare forays forward, Suffolk scored on the break and defended that lead to inflict a 1-0 defeat.
The girls came flying out of the blocks against Cambridgeshire and some wonderful passing saw them run away with a 7-1 victory. Beales (x3) and Pope (x2) were among the scorers.
In the final game despite tired legs the girls kept going against a strong Essex team to finish 3-0 winners – Pope (x2) and Beales.
The final result was second to Suffolk who had prevailed in the head to head despite Norfolk having a superior goal difference (+3).
There were strong performances in midfield and defence from Ellie and Emily.
So many positives for Norfolk and Pelicans. Winners in 2016, runners up in 2017, this is a strong team and the contributions from all Pelicans players bode well for club and county.
Final stats for the tournament were five games played, a loss and four wins, 19 goals for and 4 against, goal difference of +15.
Of those 19 goals, eight were scored by Pope and five by Beales giving Pelicans some 70% of the goals scored – a comparable performance to 2016 when the same players scored 10 out of 13. Pelicans did themselves proud in the Norfolk cause.