National Plate Finals
Taunton Plus 1, Driffield 1
(Taunton win 2-1 on pens)

TAUNTON Vale and Minehead hockey clubs have joined forces this year to produce a competition-winning side in the England Hockey Over-45s Masters National Knockout competition.

The Somerset Golden Gals are definitely The Pink Army to be proud of after their dazzling display of teamwork and determination in the England Hockey Over-45s Plate finals played at Lee Valley - The Olympic Park - in East London, on Sunday.

After a difficult journey there, getting stuck in traffic, nerves were a tad frayed but, once they arrived, it didn’t take them long to drink in the fabulous atmosphere at Lee Valley National Hockey Centre. 

The team were grateful to the supporters who made the trek, too, and who made such a difference to the day for everyone.

The Pink Army stormed through the first half ensuring the opposition felt their dominance but, despite numerous scoring chances, the Vale Plus side couldn’t manage to make their pressure count.

After a 0-0 scoreline at half-time, Vale Plus pushed again but were beaten by a strike on goal by Driffield. 

The Yorkshire women were in the lead, but Taunton pushed and pushed with relentless determination and, after a great attacking run and cross from Helen Donovan, Hazel Binding (Minehead) was in the right place to net the pass in an emphatic manner.

The Pinks piled on the pressure with amazing, skilful displays in midfield from Sally Pitkin, Elaine Gale (Pringle) and Clare Hayes, but they went unrewarded.

The final whistle blew at 1-1 and the match went to penalties.

Jan Weetch (Minehead) was simply awesome in the shootout, saving four out of five Driffield attempts.

For Vale, Jill Hansford (England International Over 60) kept her cool and slotted her penalty home for a 1-1 scoreline.

All the pressure fell on Elaine Gale (Pringle) and she scored within the eight second time allowed for the penalty. 

The joy of the team overflowed and the winning feeling will last a long time with the Somerset Golden Gals!