Olivia shines for the county

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OLIVIA Bythell, Pendle Forest’s young starlet has been in outstanding form for club and county.

Earlier this season she was selected to represent the Lancashire Under 16 squad, and captain the Red Rose county at a tournament in Birkenhead, where the team played three, won one, drew one and lost one.

Olivia and her family would like to thank Pendle Leisure Trust who have supported her throughout her hockey career so far.

Meanwhile, Olivia was in action as Forest played Preston twice at the weekend, in a relegation double-header.

Saturday’s game didn’t start well, as Preston gained a penalty corner in the first minute and slotted it into the bottom corner.

Preston pushed up as a unit and filled the Forest half, making runs down both sides of the pitch, finding holes in the defence with their skilful stick work.

Their second and third goals also came from penalty corners, getting accurate deflections.

After half-time a change of formation saw their game improve for a while.

Unfortunately this was short lived and simple errors were punished, leading to a fourth Preston goal.

However, the following day, Forest were a different team.

They dominated the first 20 minutes, with several penalty corners. This pressure paid off when a right slip, at the top of the D, from a penalty corner saw Deb Bythell flick the ball into the top corner.

Preston fought their way back into the game and resumed their shape just before half-time.

After the break the Forest midfield showed great defensive and attacking play to win back control, especially from Hayley Baines and player of the match Olivia Bythell.

Pendle made good use of substitutions and were awarded a second goal when Cathy Waters crossed the ball for Karen Nuttall to score on the rebound.

Forest were not yet out of danger, but drove forward with right midfielder Sam Parker cutting inside, laying off a pass to Nuttall, who then touched the ball on for Michelle Smith to fire in, to leave Forest a point above Preston in the North England First Division with three games to play.

Pendle Forest’s thirds met top of the division Fulwood on Saturday and had an early opportunity as Dee McInnes linked well with Rosie Southworth and Amy Greenwood, in order to play a reverse stick cross into the D. Claire Birkett picked the ball up, but good tackling denied her a shot on goal.

Fulwood then broke and played a long ball to their target player, who rocketed a ball into the bottom corner.

Forest came back at Fulwood, and defensively were outstanding, with Katie Goodwill at right back picking off everything that came her way. It was unlucky for Forest when Fulwood were awarded a penalty corner after a foot foul in the D, which was converted to make it 2 - 0 at half time.Forest came out fighting and the solid Julie Portman played through to Southworth, who ran at Fulwood before before passing to Greenwood, who squared to McInnes, to score from the edge of the D.

At this point Forest were out playing Fulwood, but despite dominating the last 15 minutes, with Birkett and Greenwood going close, Fulwood held on to win.

Forest’s player of the match was Katie Goodwill.