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Hampshire lifted the South & West Counties Under-18 Championship trophy for the seventh time at Basingstoke on Tuesday after a 5-0 win over Somerset.
The competition involves teams from six counties in two groups with the winners facing each other in a Final. Four goals in the last fifteen minutes gave Hampshire a winning margin which hides a tight contest for the majority of the game. The victors always had the greater attacking threat with Lucy Quinn scoring a fine hat-trick, but Somerset were competitive and totally in the contest for the first 75 minutes.
Quinn did not take long to make her mark, beating two defenders before hitting the opening goal past Lucia Harrington on seven minutes. The Somerset keeper had to be quick off her line several times to smother through balls as Hampshire dominated. Niamh Rawlins put over some dangerous crosses but a second goal did not arrive and Somerset played their way into the game, moving the ball around well and testing the Hampshire back four.
Somerset's best effort came on the half hour when keeper Jess Myers was forced into a diving block at her near post by Natasha Stephens' shot. There was little to choose between the sides at the break with both defences coping efficiently with the attacking intent of their opponents
The match resumed with a similar pattern though Hampshire, driven forward by Laura Rafferty and Jodie Brett, looked the more likely to score..Harrington made an excellent double save to deny Daisy Simms. The crucial second goal was bizarre, Quinn slicing a shot which turned into a chest high pass to Rawlins beyond the far post where she controlled excellently before driving a shot past Harrington.
Two Quinn goals in two minutes sealed the match, a 30-yard lob which Harrington could only help into the net and a close range finish for her triple. Substitute Emma Pinner rounded off the scoring with final kick of the match.
Hampshire gave a fine all round performance against hard working opponents who in no way deserved a five-goal defeat. The win completed a glorious six day trio of titles for Brett who had played in national cup winning teams on Thursday for Hampshire Schools and on Sunday for Chelsea CoE. Millie Farrow might have joined Brett in this feat but was injured in the weekend encounter.
Manager Vanessa Raynbird achieved her fourth success.in three weeks after leading Portsmouth to the County Cup, then promotion to the National Division and guiding both Hampshire Schools and Under 18s to honours.
Hampshire squad: Jess Myers, Laura Ingram, Laura Heron, Nicolle Keen, Shannon Sievwright, Lucy Quinn, Daisy Simms, Jodie Brett, Laura Rafferty, Niamh Rawlins, Lauren Clark, Emma Pinner, Liberty Pritchard, Millie Farrow, Lauren Medhurst, Megan Fox.
Somerset squad: Lucia Harrington, Rosie Williams, Jade Hatton, Yasmin Laver, Sophie Whelan, Zoe Gunter, Ellie Carter, Georgina Presswell, Abbie Southway, Grace Rapp, Shannon Osman, Ellie Sargent, Danni Rigby, Charlotte Tibbs, Abigail Lock, Natasha Stephens.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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