No ground given all day with some determined play from start to end
Losing out on a semi-final place in a nailbiting play off match was no disgrace after an excellent display of hockey.
The U18 girls section made their way to Swansea for the Wales Cup Qualifying tournament on a cold but dry day.
Drawn in a pool with teams from last years cup finalists Gwent and Swansea, it was always going to be a tough day.
The first match was against the West Wales club of Bow Street. With both teams taking to the pitch for the first time of the day, everyone waited to see who would settle first. It was Abergavenny who took that award and secured a 6-0 win with goals for Bethan, Jenny, Sophie (2), Nell and Megan.
With chance for a break, Abergavenny could rest and prepare for the next match. This was a exceptionally hard fought match with neither team leaving a centimetre of pitch uncovered. Hugely committed tackling coupled with strong off the ball running and calm distribution saw Abergavenny take the lead a couple of times, only to be pegged back by equalisiing goals from Gwent. The half score was 3-2 to Abergavenny and the half time catchup of breath reinforced exactly how much the girls realised that an upset was on the cards. With the second half continuing to test fitness and commitment levels, the win was secured with a fourth goal and the result was secured. Goals were scored by Megan (2), Jenny and Nell.
With two wins out of two, the dream was perhaps taking shape. But the ominous squad of Swansea were up next. As in previous years, this side stood head and shoulders above all other teams on the day. With a number of international players in their ranks, the quality showed, but, a side full of fairness and no arrogance. Abergavenny set about this challenge with relish and were not afraid to drive forward whilst retaining a disciplined formation to hassle and harry the opposition. Just 1 goal down at half time, with chances having come Abergavenny's way, the determination was resolute. But the continuous wide ranging play of Swansea bore fruits with 2 further goals to leave it a 3-0 loss.
So, with two wins in the pool, Abergavenny came runners up and therefore qualified for a play off against second place in the other pool, Whitchurch. Whitchurch, another one of the larger youth hockey clubs in Wales, came into this match with a mixed record - in fact they had failed to score a single goal in the quailfication thus rather limped to the play off by virtue of a better goal difference to the 3rd and 4th placed teams in their pool.
Abergavenny played this play off match straight after the match against Swansea whereas Whitchurch had the luxury of a break. Perhaps this was a telling fact as after such intense matches, Abergavenny were being asked yet again for a big effort. But with Jenny Lewis striking a powerful short corner in, it was Abergavenny that led 1-0 at the interval. Tremendous defending of numerous short corners in rapid succession, showed how determined the players were, and Whitchurch showed their frustration. It was 7 minutes before the end that Whitchurch equalised to their delight, and they secured the win with a further 2 goals as Abergavenny legs tired.
This was a fantastic day full of positive team spirit and ethos. No one left an ounce of energy at home today - it was all saved up and spent in a tremendous effort for the team. This is what team sport is all about.