Ben Rhydding’s under-12 girls did themselves and the club proud at the National In2hockey finals in Cannock, finishing ninth after conceding just four goals during the tournament.

Having qualified as North champions, Ben Rhydding knew they were in for a testing day against the top teams in the country.

First up were Marlow and, despite a nervous start, Rhydding grew in confi-dence, the strong defensive unit of Gabby Pope, Rachel Scott and heroic Freya Bellamy in goal keeping the opposition at bay.

Evie Malir enjoyed a fine game in midfield and found space in the latter phases to create several openings, Imogen Sunman timing her run well but just sliding a Malir deflection wide before Malir’s well-struck shot from the edge of the D went agonisingly the wrong side of a post.

Marlow went on to finish as runners-up, so Ben Rhydding’s 0-0 scoreline demonstrated the close-ness of national contests.

Next up were Worcester in a game which proved frustrating for the Ilkley side, who went a goal down despite controlling play and found themselves unable to make the crucial break-through.

Jemima Jaggar harried the Worcester defence, ably supported by Pope, who created numerous openings down the right.

Lily Robinson stepped into defence and worked well with Scott to close down Worcester.Defeat followed to a strong Bournemouth, the south-coast side going a goal up early on before Scott found space to drive down the right, evading numerous flailing sticks.

She fired across goal but her effort inexplicably avoided both the net and the outstretched stick of Jaggar. Evie Ramsbottom stepped into midfield to add fresh impetus to the attack, but as Rhydding tried every-thing to equalise, Bournemouth sealed the game with a late goal.

Ben Rhydding went into their final game against Canterbury know-ing that victory would seal a group third place.Rhydding enjoyed the majority of possession, shots from Robinson and Malir being well saved.

Bellamy was in equally fine form in Rhydding’s nets, charging down the att-acking threat and clearing.Rhydding’s luck ran out, however, as first Canterbury capitalised with a well-worked short corner and then Pope took a nasty blow to the head.

She recovered to add her strength to the attack but the Ilkley side had suffered another narrow defeat. In the last game against Exe, Ben Rhydding were determined to get the result their play deserved, driving down the flanks.

Sunman, from a Scott cross, and Ramsbottom (2) scored to give hope for next year’s event, with three of the squad still eligible.