Head coach Rob Sorrell says it was inconsistency that cost Harleston Magpies Girls Under-18s reaching the knockout stages of the Indoor Super 6s Championships at the weekend.
Magpies recorded just one win from their four games in Pool B, which meant they missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals of the top indoor competition.
But despite his disappointment at his team not progressing through the group stages, Sorrell was upbeat about his young side’s prospects for the future.
“We didn’t do as well as I wanted,” the Magpies head coach said, “but I’m happy and pleased with the way they played.
“It was a big step up for them and they showed a lot of promise for the future.
“We weren’t consistently good enough. We had spells through the tournament, at points during games, where we played really well.
“There were also some spells where we played below average, and when you get to the national level you get punished for it.”
The Under-18s finals of the Indoor Super 6s Championship took place over two days at Whitgift School, South Croydon, at the weekend.
Two teams from each region qualified for the finals, with Magpies and Canterbury the two East qualifiers.
They were joined by teams from the North, South, West and Midlands for the 10-team competition.
Harleston’s Pool B campaign began on Saturday with a 6-4 defeat to Isca, before a 3-1 reverse against Wycombe left them joint-bottom of the group, alongside Brooklands Poynton, at the end of the first day of action.
Magpies’ hopes of qualifying for the last four were extinguished after losing 4-1 to Beeston on Sunday morning, but they did end their campaign on a high with a 7-2 victory over Brooklands Poynton in their final group game.
“We finished fourth in our group which meant we didn’t qualify for the semi-finals, which was a shame,” Sorrell reflected.
“We finished on a high against Brooklands. We had obviously learnt from our mistakes and beat them 7-2.
“It was a little bit disappointing as we all thought we’d do a bit better than we did.
“Overall we were pleased to get there in the first place, and aside from one player, all the girls will be eligible to play next year, so hopefully this experience will put the team in a much better position this time next year.”
Sorrell and the team will now prepare for their England Hockey Girls Under-18s Cup quarter-final next month.
The girls will be looking for revenge when they host defending champions Beeston in the last eight of the outdoor competition at Weybread on Sunday, February 19 (12.45pm).