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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Deva Boys Crowned ASE Champs

DEVA were crowned champions of the Under-18 AASE Boys League after a thrilling set of final matches last weekend.

They beat Cannock 14-11 to win the 2010-11 league, and bring to an end a day of entertaining play-off matches which saw the top four teams in the league battle it out.

Cannock started the day as favourites as they were the only unbeaten team in the league, putting them at the top spot. Things went according to Cannock’s plan as they dismissed Warrington Wolves 13-11 in a tight and thrilling match which either team could’ve won.

Deva, who looked to be Cannock’s main rivals, also won their first match which was against Manchester Hawks. The final score was 12-11 which meant they scraped in the final to face Cannock.

That left Manchester Hawks to face Warrington Wolves in a 3rd place play off. The two teams were out of reach of the medals but still had their pride to play for.

Warrington had yet to beat Manchester so far this season and appeared to be the underdogs. However, they were out of the blocks much quicker than a lethargic Manchester side and through a combination of fantastic saves from goalkeeper Jamie Simpson, and a solid attacking performance from the rest of the Wolves, they eased into a five-goal lead early in the first half.

In the second half, Manchester came out fighting and managed to whittle the deficit down to just one goal. They continued to chase Warrington to the final whistle, but as it blew Warrington were still one ahead, winning the match 21-20 and claiming third spot in the league.

With silverware up for grabs, both Cannock and Deva threw everything they had at each other. The prize at stake may have put too much pressure on the two teams as for the first stages of the first half there were numerous unforced mistakes and technical errors from both sides, meaning the scoring was fairly low.

Both teams led at different stages in the match but as it wore on, Deva began to look the stronger and smarter of the two teams. In the second half, Deva goalkeeper K. Wolff really stepped his game up and kept Deva’s lead a strong one by denying Cannock of several seemingly certain goals. Oliphant, Dunstone and Tyler were all extremely impressive in attack.

The final whistle blew with scores at 14–11 to Deva HC, leaving Cannock in shock and Deva ecstatic as they lifted the trophy.

Text: Ben Hoyles.

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