Grantham’s England under-17 goalkeeper Naya Patel was awarded the Most Valuable Player prize at the North Sea Cup tournament in Aberdeen at the weekend.
England Select, a team made up of players aged 17 and under, were competing against the senior Scotland, Ireland and Wales teams.
KGGS student Naya’s England team very narrowly lost out to Ireland 12-11 (2-2, 2-4, 2-3, 6-2) in a very tight opening match.
England put in a fantastic performance and led against the senior Irish team for most of the match, but a strong final quarter for Ireland edged them in front with around a minute remaining.
In their second match, England beat the senior Wales team 14-7 (3-0, 5-2, 2-4, 4-1).
An excellent performance saw England take an early lead and it was one they never gave up, as they won three of the four quarters, and a strong finish ensured the commanding victory.
Unfortunately, England narrowly lost out to eventual winners Scotland 7-6 in their final match in what was a thrilling but also very tense encounter, where again the English girls had the lead right the way through to the last few minutes of the match, when Scotland’s seniors equalised and then just took the lead.
Naya spoke about her MVP award after the tournament: “I thought I was playing well but was still shocked and amazed to have been awarded this honour, especially as we were playing against national senior teams.
“It feels absolutely fantastic when coaches from other teams recognise you in this way.”
Naya in particular will now be focusing on the start of this year’s Women’s National League, in which she plays number one goalkeeper for Hucknall who are in Division One, with the first match in Gloucester on October 1.