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Ulster Lions prove a roaring success with UK Under-13 Championship joy

 

Top stuff: The Ulster Lions with their trophy after becoming the UK’s Under-13 champions
Top stuff: The Ulster Lions with their trophy after becoming the UK’s Under-13 champions

By Graham Hamilton

The Ulster Lions have been crowned UK Under-13 champions after an unbeaten run in the Regional Championships, staged at Beeston, near Nottingham.

Coach Jonny Harper's team ran up wins over last year's winners Tensworth (4-0), the British and Asian Hockey Association (6-0) and Saxons South (3-2) to top their pool and go through to the semi-finals.

They then booked their place in the decider by beating North East 4-0 and completed a remarkable weekend by winning the final 2-0 against pre-tournament favourites, Devon side West Panthers.

James Evans was named Player of the Tournament and he, along with Tom Archbold and Matthew Stevenson, were selected to represent the UK Lions.

It was two goals each from Evans and Stevenson that set the ball rolling with the 4-0 win over Tensworth and the following day they crushed BAHA 6-0 with the goals coming from Adam McKee (3), Ollie Berry, Joshua Brownlee and a fabulous reverse shot from Josh Osbourne.

Three hours later they had to come from two down to beat Saxons 3-2, with Oscar Eakin and Stevenson starting the comeback and a wonder goal from Archbold ensuring they topped their pool.

Two goals each from Adam McKee and Eakin did the job in the 4-0 semi-final success over North East.

And Stevenson's penalty corner drag flick and a tap-in from Brownlee after good work by Archbold, with goalkeeper Ed Forbes-Davis saving a penalty stroke, provided the 2-0 win over West Panthers in the decider and ensured the celebrations could begin.

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