Pelicans’ Ladies Masters dreaming of making history ahead of home national-plate semi-final tie

'92 Olympic hockey bronze medalist Kath Johnson, with her medal and olympic shirt, will be hoping to

'92 Olympic hockey bronze medalist Kath Johnson, with her medal and olympic shirt, will be hoping to inspire the Pelicans to more success this afternoon. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Pelicans' Ladies Masters take to their home Lynnsport astroturf today knowing they could be just 70 minutes away from making history.

The King's Lynn hockey club's over-35s host St Albans in an eagerly-anticipated England Hockey Board Masters' Plate semi-final. A victory would see the Pelicans senior ladies' outfit reach a national final for the first time in the club's history.

Captain and manager Tracy Bower said: 'It is a big game, considering they play just below national level as a club and work from a base with three astroturfs.

'They have nine men's teams and five or six ladies' teams. So club for club we are punching above our weight. But we've got fantastic team spirit and all our players are home-grown. We're definitely the underdogs but we travelled three hours to get to Bridgnorth in the last round and to come away having beaten them, when we were so close to losing it, on penalty flicks, has mentally set us up for the semi-final.'

Former Olympian Kath Johnson, who won a bronze medal at Barcelona 1992, will be looking to shine in the centre of midfield for the Pelicans.

The 46-year-old Grimston-based Pelican is one of the country's most respected hockey figures and Bower believes she can inspire her team-mates to more glory this afternoon.

'With Kath at the heart of the team in the centre of midfield, and with a player of that type of ability in your side, you're always going to be in with a chance of getting something,' said Bower.

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'Her experience helps others on the pitch as she's kind of seen it all, and because she has such a pivotal role in the team. There's an element sometimes of 'give her the ball and let her get on with it' because she's that good, which helps take the pressure off everyone else.'

Pelicans dropped into the Plate after losing 3-1 to Cambridge in the second round of the over-35s Cup. A walkover over St Neots followed by a 3-1 triumph at Letchworth saw the Lynn side reach the quarter-final – where they beat Bridgnorth 5-4 on penalties after drawing the game 2-2. The winners of today's tie (1.30pm) face Wimbledon at Beeston on Sunday, April 28.