Norwich City under-16s do their club proud at regional tournament

Norwich Citys winning team. Back (left to right): Jake Cushion, Josh Bailey, Rob Duffy, Ben Withers.

Norwich Citys winning team. Back (left to right): Jake Cushion, Josh Bailey, Rob Duffy, Ben Withers. Front: Harry Paterson, James Hewett, Ben Millett, Dan Phillips. - Credit: Archant

Norwich City U-16 Boys qualified for the National Indoor Finals following a fantastic unbeaten performance in the regional tournament in Colchester.

City beat both Saffron Walden and Sudbury before drawing the final game against Old Loughtonians to qualify comfortably.

Having recently won the Norfolk Indoor County Championship, courtesy of victories over local rivals Norwich Dragons and Harleston Magpies, City's U16s arrived at the Essex University Sports Hall full of confidence.

Their first game was against Cambridgeshire champions Saffron Walden. Despite City's dominance, the game was neck and neck until the last few minutes when City edged ahead to win 5-3, courtesy of a Rob Duffy hat-trick and one apiece for Dan Phillips and Josh Bailey.

City's next opposition were Suffolk champions Sudbury. In a closely fought game, City pulled ahead 5-3, before Sudbury grabbed a consolation goal at the death. Harry Paterson, Jake Cushion, Duffy, Phillips and Bailey all grabbed a goal apiece, the pick being a superb solo effort from Phillips who threaded his way through the defence before calmly slotting the ball home.

Finally City met Essex champions Old Loughtonians, with both teams having already qualified for the nationals with two wins out of two.

This was a highly competitive and end-to-end game, with City keeper Ben Millett called upon to make some excellent saves. Old Loughts went 1-0 up just before half-time, but City fought back with Bailey scoring the equaliser. City finished the stronger with both James Hewitt and Ben Withers coming close, before the match ended at 1-1.

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'This was a superb team performance, with the whole squad playing their part in qualification and showing high levels of skill and determination to get the results needed,' said coach Al Paterson afterwards.

Norwich City Boys will now represent the East Region at the National Indoor Hockey Finals in Wolverhampton on January 23 and 24.