Pelicans youngsters crowned regional champions

Youngsters from a Lynn-based hockey club have ended a 30-year wait to become regional champions.

Pelicans Under-10 boys went six games unbeaten and kept six clean sheets on their way to taking the title at the In2Hockey Regional Finals held at Harleston.

The youngsters came face-to-face against the best teams in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire on their way to glory.

Pelicans Under-10s who have been crowned regional champions.
Pelicans Under-10s who have been crowned regional champions.

Pelicans overcame a slow start to defeat Bury St Edmunds 4-0.

A superb team goal saw Toby Ring open the scoring after Luca Gilbert had seen his initial effort saved.

Gilbert then scored twice in quick succession before the introduction of Max Hawkins and Will Turner gave fresh legs to the Pelicans attack.

It resulted in a fourth goal from Hawkins after Gilbert turned provider.

In their second outing against Old Loughtonians, Pelicans were quick out of the blocks and got off to the ideal start as Ring found the back of the net in record time.

Henry Ashby converted a cross from Charlie Read to make it 2-0 with Ring rounding off the scoring with his third goal of the day.

Cambridgeshire champions Saffron Walden were next in wait for Pelicans who ground out a hard-fought 2-0 victory.

A penalty corner routine saw Henry Ashby open the scoring and, after several chances came and went, Hawkins doubled the side’s lead with a rocket shot late on.

Having already guaranteed themselves a place in the semi-finals, Pelicans took on Hertfordshire winners Bluebirds in their final group game.

Oscar Gager-Brook tickled the ball with a perfectly-weighted pass to Mika Verdoes who scored against his former club.

A high and powerful shot from Gilbert doubled Pelicans advantage as the team went through as group winners and into the semi-final to play Cambridge City.

Cambridge were a strong and well-drilled side, who pushed hard and won penalty corner after penalty corner.

But the Pelicans defence remained outstanding throughout and with two minutes left on the clock Pelicans were awarded a penalty corner of their own.

Verdoes injected the ball perfectly and Ring executed the perfect strike to send the team into the final.

Awaiting Pelicans in the final were Essex county champions Upminster.

Pelicans played their socks off and were rewarded five minutes as Gilbert scored what was an excellent team goal.

After withstanding a spell of Upminster pressure and a number of short corners, the ever-reliable Gilbert teed up Ring to make it 2-0.

The group stuck together throughout and were inseparable.

There was team spirit like no other which was demonstrated by the players carrying the injured Gager-Brook to collect his winners medal.

Squad: Monty Neave, Mika Verdoes, Henry Ashby, Will Turner, Oscar Gager-Brook, Toby Ring, Charlie Read, Max Hawkins and Luca Gilbert.