Easter Manchester Cup 15/16 April 2006

A  Hibs Girls U14 Team travelled to Manchester to play in the Easter Manchester Cup on Saturday and Sunday 15th / 16th April 2006.

This was the first time that this team , which was a combination of most of the U13 Team and 4 of the very young members of the U15 Team , had played together as a team. It was also the first time that most of the U13 girls had played an 11 - a - Side Match on a full sized football pitch!!

Our first game was against a very big and physically strong Liverpool "A" Team who really pushed our young team to their physical limits. Coupled with this, it was the first competitive game together for this very young and inexperienced team but they dug in , battled hard to stay with the Liverpool
girls and in the end lost the match by a single goal to a much older and more experienced team : This Team would go on to win the tournament!

Manchester City Girls were next up for our youngsters and again , as the teams lined up , our girls were dwarfed by the Manchester City Girls.

However , although we had a couple of chances to score and played some impressive football , we found ourselves having to defend and stop the Manchester Girls from getting too much possession and momentum built up and our girls did this magnificently.

Hannah Reid in the Hibs goal was absolutely outstanding and had an absolutely breathtaking save from a  Manchester City striker on the line and then somehow managed to scramble the ball to safety , but received six studs on her arm for her efforts from the Man. City forward! The game was stopped for around 5 minutes so Hannah could receive medical treatment and from the resultant corner ( the ball never crossed the bye line and it should have been a drop ball restart! ) City were awarded a penalty for accidental hand ball by a Hibs defender and although Hannah dived bravely the right way, she couldn't stop the ball and we were beaten by this single goal.

Manchester City Girls went on to become the beaten finalists or Runners Up!

In our third and fourth games on the Saturday , we dominated both games , winning the third and drawing the fourth and all of our girls were really starting to put together some delightful football which was a pleasure to see.

On Sunday morning we played Manchester United Girls twice and in between these games we played Liverpool "B" for the second time.

Saturday had taken a lot out of our girls and our first game against Manchester United found us chasing the game as the Manchester Girls dominated, playing some wonderful passing football in the process. However , our girls came back at them and started to win more possession but in the end we lost by a single goal yet again!

In the next game against Liverpool "B" , which was played immediately afterwards , our girls were caught cold early in the game and for the rest of the match tried everything they could to equalise , but somehow didn't and came off wondering why they hadn't won the game!

Our last game was against Manchester United Girls who had a squad of over 20 girls to choose from , whereas , our squad was 13.

This game proved to be a bridge too far for our girls and with Manchester United changing their team from the first game , and Hibs Girls fielding almost the same team , we were always going to be up against it . Although our girls fought bravely , with Gemma Robb asking to be brought on at half time with a knee injury to help her team-mates as she could see that they were up against it and battling hard to stay in the game , and the blisters and fatigue were starting to have a major effect ,  in the end , Manchester United won 5 - 0.

The objective of entering this tournament was to ensure that our girls became familiar playing 11- a - Side against quality opposition and this objective was achieved.

Our girls learned a number of lessons over the course of the weekend and are all better , more experienced footballers for having played in the tournament.

Their total commitment and belief in themselves and each other was quite exemplary.

They were a credit to themselves and to Hibs Girls and to top it all off , had an absolutely fantastic weekend playing the game that they all seem to love and breath!