Havant under-14s fell at the final hurdle of the National Championship to favourites Surbiton – but manager Martin Bargent insists they should be delighted with their efforts this season.
Having become one of the last eight teams in the country in the prestigious competition after winning the regional play-offs in Guildford, Havant travelled up to Nottingham determined to put on a good show.
And they certainly did that, beating Phoenix Essex 1-0, Canterbury 3-2 and drawing 2-2 with Yorkshire champions Ben Rhydding to top their pool and make the final.
With big games coming thick and fast, fatigue finally looked to have caught up with the Havant team as they went down 3-0 to an impressive Surbiton side who showed why they were tipped as favourites.
Just a week earlier, Havant under-14s had emphatically beaten local rivals Fareham 5-2 to lift the Hampshire Cup, while they also finished runners-up to Winchester in the county league and won both the John Wright and Brentwood indoor events.
‘Looking back on the season, I think we can say we exceeded our initial expectations, especially as it is quite a young age group,’ said proud manager Bargent.
‘We have a number of county players in our side and we showed real quality in some of the hockey we played.
‘The guys will now move up to the under-16 age group with some of them going on to play at regional level and I’m sure our successes this season will give them great confidence to play to the best of their abilities.’
– RICHARD WILSON