Thistle girls success at national tournament
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Girls from Hamilton Caledonian Thistle recently travelled to the north of England to participate in a charity tournament and they were more than a match for opposition that had come from all over the UK to compete.
Girls from several age groups represented the Lanarkshire side at the prestigious NSPCC National Tournament in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, held in aid of the children’s charity, where 160 clubs from the length and breadth of the UK competed over the course of the weekend.
Thistle’s 13/14s age group won all of their group games to progress to the quarter-finals, where they drew 1-1 with Burnley after equalising in the last ten seconds of the regulation time. The game then went to penalties and goalkeeper Rhian Noon was the hero of the hour as she saved two penalties to help Thistle into the semi-finals. Thistle then defeated local side Fillies 3-0 to reach the final of the tournament.
In the final, Thistle’s 13/14s outplayed their opponents Stretford from Manchester, securing a 2-0 victory and thus becoming the first Scottish side to win the competition at any age group, a fantastic achievement.
Thistle’s youngest side also reached the knock-out stage, only to lose out on penalties, a result made even more disappointing by the fact that they had already beaten their conquerors in the group stage by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline.
Thistle’s 15/16s squad also had a fantastic tournament and a handful of missed chances in vital games saw them finish a creditable third.
Jim Smith, chairman of Hamilton Caledonian Thistle, was proud of the club’s performance at all age levels in the tournament and expressed delight at how successful the trip had been overall. He said: “The club had a travelling party of 121 for the tournament in total. We stayed in Blackpool for two nights and we took all the players and coaches out for dinner on the Saturday evening. It was a marvellous weekend for the club.”
He continued: “I have attended this tournament for the past four years and the organiser Mike Veilla has done a sterling job for the NSPCC, raising over £10,000 so far by running this national tournament. We hope to return next year to defend our title. We are also interested in competing in the Barcelona Cup, which requires a lot of fundraising but we are confident we can do this after the success of our Lancashire trip.”
Pictured right with the club’s trophy is Suzanne Smith (13) who is a member of Thistle’s 15s and 17s squads and has played in the tournament for four consecutive years.