The squad headed up on the Saturday to ensure we were fresh for the morning ready for our first two games against Norfolk and Yorkshire. The squad led by Neil Taylor (Bristol City), consisted of Rachael Edwards, Jake Cooper (both Bristol City), Beth Ryan, Ruth Campbell, Sianne Way, Jo Futter, Zoe Rose, Dan Thompson (captain), Ramzi Barbir, Angus Davidson and Phil Manavopoulos (All Bristol Thunder).
The morning started against a very good Norfolk team (eventual winners) containing a number of National League players, we matched them goal for goal until 5-5 and then they pulled ahead to 8-5 in the last few minutes to leave the squad disappointed but pleased that they could compete with the best. Next up was Yorkshire where we eventually came out 6-0 winners after a slow start we got into our stride to dominate the game. This placed us 2nd in our group which meant we joined another group with a 1st place finisher and another 2nd placed side.
The second group was with East Midlands and South Midlands, a team with lots of experience and a less experienced side.
We started with East Midlands in a very competitive game whereby we eventually ran out 5-3 winners, which again like the Norfolk game we showed we could live with the best teams at the event and give ourselves a chance of winning those games. Next up was South Midlands which gave us the chance to play the whole squad once we pulled 6-0 ahead before eventually winning 8-1. This placed us in the top four with a semi final to play for a chance in the final.
As with before most games Captain Dan gave the immortal words that this is the most important game of the day and not the previous game, or the one before.
The semi final led to a match up with Kent, which was an incredibly competitive game against more National League players. They went 3-1 up we pulled it back to go 5-3 ahead, before eventually losing out 7-6 to a very late goal. So possibly the first time a South West Squad was genuinely disappointed at not making the final.
It was then time for Coach Neil and Captain Dan to bring the troops back up for one last bit of effort for the 3rd/4th place play off.
The squad started looking tired and even Angus was out jumped in collect for the first time that day and we struggled to get going. East Midlands out for revenge for the loss earlier in the day went into a 3-1 one lead. Coach Neil made a substitution and some tactical changes which led to a heroic come back to win 7-6 with a crazy goal from a levitating but tired Angus to finish 3rd in the best finish ever for a South West squad.
It was a great event, lots of fun and a happy but tired South West squad set off back down to Bristol and Cardiff satisfied after a good weekend.
Goal Scorers – Angus (10), Ramzi (8), Ruth (6), Rachael (4), Phil (2), Jo (2), Dan (2), Sianne (1), Jake (1), Zoe (1)