A few words from the Manager, Nicola Ashcroft:
“Well what another great weekend away in the National Indoor Finals representing North Wales!
Our story started 6 years ago when we first went to the Indoor National Finals on a whim, since then the club has developed over the years, regularly training indoor which has improved our outdoor game immensely, as our league stats show. In 2017, we secured funding for a development grant to get new indoor boards and goals in Brailsford, and having the up to date equipment to use in our sessions, finally paid off this year!
The first game saw the Green Army go up against a strong Penarth side. However it wasn’t plain sailing for the south team. From the off the girls battled really hard putting Penarth under immense pressure, however they scored first. But the girls in green didn’t let it deter them in fact it made them even more determined, with young Cerys Jones taking control in the defence with captain Jacqueline Smith becoming a brick wall to get through, we soon turned the ball over with fantastic play in the middle and up front by Heledd Rowlands, Jenna Gallagher & Mared Jones gaining a well deserved P.C. Goal number one was scored by Jenna Gallagher converted from the P.C. The game became fast and furious between the two teams, end to end play with a further 2 goals being scored – Penarth scoring first and Heledd Rowlands equalising just before the half time hooter, making it 2-2.
We could see that Penarth were unsettled by our standard of play and the 2nd half started just as the 1st half finished, fast and furious, with great attacking play by Clare Barwood & Siwan Jones and stern defending by the defence with some power saves by our keeper Catrin Parry.
Unfortunately, the game finished 4 – 2 to Penarth. The green army not disheartened but fired up for the next game, as that game could’ve gone either way and sent some shockwaves through all the competing teams!
Our second game was against the Indoor National Final winners from last year and our outdoor Welsh championship cup opposition Whitchurch Saints. Having not long played them in the cup at the end of October narrowly losing 2-1 to a higher ranking team we knew what we were up against.
The game started with the Green Army putting Whitchurch under immense pressure, forcing mistakes from them early on. The green army upped their standard of play with well worked passes, fast turnovers, stern defending, fantastic attacking play and awesome saves by our keeper! Half time, still 0-0 both teams wanting that breakthrough.
The second half started with Ardudwy keeping possession and playing amazing indoor hockey, this is what we had been training for. However, Whitchurch suddenly got a break and scored 1-0. TIME OUT was called by our manager Linda Collis, we all huddled round and had our chat. The game restarted with Ardudwy playing their socks off, red faces all around, but what great play from our indoor army! TIME OUT called by Whitchurch this time, they were unsettled with our play as we were constantly going at them for a good spell so needed to calm the situation. The game restarted, play continued end to end, and Whitchurch get another quick break and score. The game ending 2-0 to Whitchurch, yet another game that could’ve gone either way, with the house full of spectators and all eyes on us as we were proving to be tough opponents for these well established South teams, who have experienced playing Indoor European hockey over the years!
The compliments started to roll in, from spectators, officials and the opposition! Wow what fantastic feedback;
* Your game has improved drastically
* Our toughest opponents yet
* That could’ve gone either way
* Look at how far you have come from the start to now, your standard of play has come so far
* You are really starting to put the pressure on
* This is your best standard of play yet
* You get better & Stronger each year
It’s great to get feedback from teams who regularly play indoor competitions & have all played in Europe after winning this event!
We had one more game to go for our ranking we were playing for 5 & 6th play off against a well established indoor team who have on numerous occasions played in Europe after winning – Dowlais. We knew that it was going to be a tough game, but the girls were ready.
The hooter sounded, and from that moment Ardudwy took control, the intensity of the game became apparent very early. Ardudwy had stepped up another gear again, WOW what a game, the standard of play, the green army were on fire! The game was fast, end to end with hefty challenges coming in. The girls stood their ground, showing some beautiful skills, attacking at every opportunity they could which eventually led to 1-0 Ardudwy scoreline, goal scored by Clare Barwood from a tight angle! Our level of play had been building throughout the day, the girls were on fire, ensuring that we held our lead, despite numerous short corners and dangerous attacks from the opposition. Such awesome play demonstrated by the Northwalian representatives. Half-time, and it was 1 – 0 to the original Green Army, Ardudwy!
The girls we’re pumped, as they went into the final 15 minutes…
Dowlais started with possession but could just not get through, Ardudwy were playing with fire in their souls, giving it their all with everything been thrown at them. Dowlais then get a lucky break and score 1-1 , by this time the stands were full, along with the spectators gallery. What a game this was turning out to be, the play was of a very high standard, Ardudwy playing the hockey of their lives with such passion and determination and pride. The girls were giving their every last ounce of energy into the final seconds, a free hit awarded in the last minute inside the attacking half. A quickly taken free hit by Jenna to Jaqs, to Clare, then Clare to Mared, stunning one touch passing resulting in a beautifully created goal, on the reverse through the keepers legs by Mared Jones! It was 2-1 Ardudwy, with 40 seconds to go! Dowlais amounted an attack but to no prevail. Ardudwys ball, 10 seconds to go, and finally, the last hooter of the game goes…The whole team including the manager went wild screaming with delight and dancing on the pitch at this achievement. It was like they had won the final. WOW, what a game!
It was the first time that Ardudwy had entered solely as Ardudwy with no guest players and had won a game, what an achievement especially with the youngest players there!
On a personal note, and on behalf of all the team, I would like to thank Linda Collis stepping in as manager for the day, and for her words of encouragement throughout the day, motivating our players during every match!
And finally to you girls – the Green Indoor Army for your sheer determination, you amazed me with your standard of play in the finals and that last game sent shivers down my spine seeing what it meant but how far you have come. I can’t describe how proud I am of you all and am looking forward to build on the future with you.
My player of the Tournamnet went to our Goalkeeper Catrin Parry for some showstopping saves in the games, but every single one of you girls were all amazing!
What started out on a whim, has changed Ardudwy hockey clubs future.”