Hockey Wales Trophy Semi-Final
Newcastle Emlyn 4 Cardiff University 3rds 2:
Two goals from Emlyn forward Amy Heighton helped steer the reigning cup holders into the final of the Hockey Wales Trophy for the second year running.
Heighton scored the opener as well as the all important final goal to kill off the challenge of the Cardiff students, who play in a league higher up the ladder than the reds.
Held at the Sports Wales National Centre in Cardiff, the Ceredigion side travelled well prepared with the big day experience of last year under their belts and they came out all guns blazing against a stunned Cardiff Uni team who were slow to get going. It was not long before the reds took the lead when a pinpoint cross from Enfys Davies was heading just shy of the goal but Heighton was waiting to pounce and she guided the ball past the Cardiff Uni keeper with just 20 seconds on the clock
Emlyn’s experienced players were causing a real stir for Cardiff by now and they seemed unable to settle as the combined efforts of Sioned Jones on the right midfield, Mel Williams in centre, and youngster Sioned Davies on the wing worked well to bring the ball up the field.
In defence the trio of Heulwen Evans, Ellie Lloyd and player of the match Heledd-Mai Lloyd, as well as Sweeper and captain Lowri Hubbard, were proving a handful for the Cardiff Uni side who made costly mistakes throughout the first quarter.
The west Walians doubled their lead soon after when experienced campaigner and centre-forward Enfys Davies fired home from a powerful hit and the students were rattled.
However, the pace and obvious fitness of the local side started to show and the Emlyn defence struggled to hold a well-organised attack, especially down the middle and an accurate shot on goal from the University made it 2-1. Emlyn to their credit responded in the best way possible with their third goal of the game when striker Davies hit the target to make it 3-1.
Cardiff Uni seemed to have found their feet in the second quarter and were causing problems with some lovely passing just outside the circle. Keeper Angharad Jenkins made some excellent saves, as did replacement left-back Nia Jones, but a tricky shot from Cardiff slipped past the defence to make it 3-2.
Enfys Davies looked to make an attack down the left wing but a shoulder barge from one of the Cardiff Uni defenders took her out and the umpire decided this was worth a green card, sending the Cardiff player to the stands for two minutes, but the reds failed to make the most of the opportunity before half time.
The pressure was on for both teams in the third quarter, with Cardiff looking to get back in the game but down the other end a shot from Heighton in the circle after a stunning solo attack from Davies almost nailed the match, but the keeper made a super save and there was little in this game going into the final quarter as the tension was cranked up.
Emlyn kept the pressure on with the pace of youngsters Rosie Hughes and Ffion Davies causing a few problems and frustrations were starting to show in the young university side who, despite several short corners, couldn’t seem to break the Emlyn defence.
With just a few minutes left the reds were awarded a long corner and experienced player, Mel Williams, took the ball left and passed to Amy Heighton who powered her shot in off the back post to make it 4-2 to the Ceredigion ladies and game over.
Newcastle Emlyn now go through to the final of the Hockey Wales Trophy in Cardiff in May to take on Rhondda Ladies and an opportunity for them to repeat their famous win over Llandysul in last years epic final.