Pendle Forest’s Freya Bythell completed her journey through the elite ranks of England junior hockey at the weekend, as she shone at the Futures Cup at the weekend.
Almost two years to the day that the Great Britain women’s hockey team won an historic gold medal at the Rio Olympics, Freya, 17, reached the pinnacle of England Hockey’s Single System, playing for Pennine Pumas, who represent the North of England, at Oaklands College, St Albans.
Freya has now completed four gruelling years in the system – being selected for, training and competing in everything she possibly could have done, while playing every Saturday in the Pendle Forest first team – who were awarded England Hockey Women’s Team of the Year 2017-18, aon the back of a staggering 74-match unbeaten run that saw the team win back to back promotions to the North Premier League.
Last week she travelled down to St Albans to perform alongside the best young hockey athletes the country has to offer.
In her group were the Saxon Tigers and Mercia Lynx, who have historically performed very well at this event.
On Thursday, Pennine Pumas took on last year’s winners Saxon Tigers in an enthralling game, and won 3-1.
This condemned Tigers to the 5th/6th play off and gave Pumas everything to play for.
On Friday, Pumas took on Mercia Lynx, and it was Lynx that emerged victorious 3-1, as they beat what England Hockey described as a “dogged Pennine Pumas Team.”
This ended Pumas’ quest for a gold medal, but put them through to the bronze medal match on the Saturday against the Scottish team Caledonian Cougars.
In a game of few chances, it was the Cougars captain who was the hero for the Scottish side, as she fired home with just 10 minutes on the clock.
Pumas fired a last-minute short corner wide to give the Cougars their first medal of Futures Cup 2018.
It is hoped Freya did enough to have been spotted by the numerous England scouts at the tournament, and fingers crossed, they will come knocking at the door in the next few weeks.
In the meantime Freya, alongside mother Deb, sister Olivia, cousin Thea and aunt Jan, will begin their North Premier League campaign at relegated National League side Liverpool Sefton on Saturday, September 22nd.
Pendle Forest have three senior women’s sides competing in North Premier and Lancashire Premier Division, and always welcome new members.
They train at Marsden Heights Community College on Tuesday nights between 7-8-30 p.m. If anybody wishes to know anymore, please go to their Facebook or Twitter pages, or contact first team captain Dani Hornby on 07854135137 for more details.