Havant’s young guns excel on national stage

Havant's victorious under-16s squad
Havant's victorious under-16s squad
Katie Spooner is aiming high for City of Portsmouth Ladies. Picture: Keith Woodland

Developing talents can boost City glory bid

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Havant Hockey Club’s juniors came within a whisker of a remarkable double as their under-16s and under-18s stormed to the finals of the National Indoor Championships.

Showing once again the exciting talent progressing through the ranks at the club, the under-18s only missed out on final glory after a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out.

Meanwhile, their younger counterparts went one better after being crowned national champions.

It is a real fillip for the club and Havant president Chris Pickett was understandably delighted with the young guns’ efforts.

He said: ‘I speak on behalf of all the members of this club, to say how proud we are of our juniors’ success.

‘To have teams in both age groups in the national finals really is a tremendous achievement.

‘And for our under-16 boys to become national champions, and the under-18s runners-up, it cannot get any better.’

Both sides successfully negotiated the southern qualifying rounds to reach the national finals.

The under-16s then journeyed to Wolverhampton in their quest for national glory.

And the side stormed to the top of their group to book their place in the last four of the competition.

In the semi-finals, the under-16s again excelled, beating last year’s national indoor champions Canterbury 5-3 in a tense match.

And the boys showed their determination and ability once again in the final, defeating Ashmoor 2-1 to be crowned national indoor champions 2012.

The under-18s travelled to Whitgift School, near Croydon, to take on the cream of the country’s young hockey talent.

And, far from being overawed, they showed their determination and skill to top their pool, only being beaten by Cannock Boys as they booked an automatic spot in the semi-finals.

In the last four, the under-18s managed to keep their nerve against Taunton Vale, booking their place in the final with a tense 4-3 win.

Unfortunately, in the final, they were narrowly pipped for the title by Wycombe, losing on penalty strokes after a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Pickett added: ‘To all the boys, many congratulations for the way they played and conducted themselves – they have brought great pride to the club.

‘And results like this do not happen without a dedicated support team.

‘A huge thank you to the coaches, Peter Nail (under-18s) and David Faulkner (under-16s) who have worked tirelessly.

‘And to the management team, Peter Hatherley (under-18s) and Emlyn Jones (under-16s).’