Stoke Newington Girls maintain winning habit in London Cup
- Credit: Archant
Stoke Newington Girls are again celebrating double delight following the London Cup at the Douglas Eyre sports complex in Walthamstow.
The Hackney school’s Under-12s and Under-14s powered to victory in the annual tournament, making it the third year in a row that Stoke Newington have won two of the three competitions.
The Under-16s were prevented from completing a clean sweep with defeat in the semi-finals but, for manager Ian Bruce, it marks six tournament successes for the last nine teams he has coached.
“The girls played amazingly throughout the tournaments and blew away their opponents,” he told the Gazette.
“The Year 7s (Under-12s) were especially good in the final, with six different goalscorers showing just how much of a team they are.
“Paige Bailey-Gayle was outstanding for the Under-14s, scoring a hat-trick in the final, and Sophie Sprague-Kelly has been the player of the season, but all the girls have been immense.”
The Under-12s made light work of their route to the final, beating Maria Fidelis 11-1 in the opening round before sauntering past Bishop Challoner 7-0 and City Academy (Hackney) 9-0 in the quarter-finals.
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The last four proved a stiffer test, with extra time needed for a narrow 2-1 win over Grey Coat Hospital, before Hammersmith Academy were blitzed 6-0 in the final.
The Under-14s, ably assisted by Steve Clark, were every bit as disciplined in defence as they were adventurous going forward, not conceding a single goal from the quarter-finals onwards.
Haverstock were dismantled 10-0 in the last eight, before Kingsdale Foundation were uprooted 6-0 in the semis – and a dominant performance was capped by a convincing 4-0 triumph in the final against Bishop Challoner.
Bruce, who has coached at Stoke Newington Girls’ School for seven years, set up AFC Stoke Newington last year to allow Year 11s to continue playing beyond their time at school.
Next season, he is entering an Under-13 team into the Capital Girls League, enabling those from all London schools beyond Stoke Newington to pursue their love of the game.
Bruce added: “I’ve worked with around 60 girls, training a few times a week for different age groups, and days like this make it all worth it.”